The abolition of Educational Maintenance Allowances
Look, with a spot I damn him
With just one line today’s Spending Review abolished one of the most progressive reforms introduced by the last government. The Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is to be “replaced” by “locally managed discretionary funds to target support.” We all know what is going to happen to anything “discretionary” over the next few years.
So far this government has made three cuts that have broken my heart: the Future Jobs Fund, the health in pregnancy grant and now this. Helping young people from low income families to stay on in school is about as progressive as it is possible to be. Especially in times like this, those young people who can get jobs often face tremendous pressure to leave school.
That’s why EMAs have been a progressive cause for decades. In the dim and distant past, I remember Shirley Williams as Education Minister promising that Labour would introduce EMAs if they won the 1979 election – I wonder what she makes of what her government has just done?