From the TUC

Care to Learn: The Government needs to start caring for the future

07 Nov 2011, by Guest in Society & Welfare

After the trebling of fees and axing of EMA you could be forgiven for thinking that the government had had their fill of education cuts, but whilst those issues have dominated the headlines the attack of education funding and student support has continued at an alarming rate.

In spite of constant claims that those who are the worst off will be looked after it’s no surprise that in education as with all public sector cuts it’s those with the least to give who are taking the biggest hit.

It’s often said that little things can make a difference and that’s certainly true of the Care to Learn grant which costs the government around £39 million per year.

Care to Learn (CtL) is a grant that meets the cost of childcare for teenage parents in school or further education, enabling them to continue in learning and increase their chances of moving into work or higher study.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that EMA brought benefits which ‘more than offset its costs’ – and the evidence for its efficacy pale in comparison to CtL.

The recently closed consultation on the future of CtL offered a variety of uninspiring options, where the desired outcome was apparent (and confirmed by a FOI before the consultation even closed) with the government planning to scale back the fund so it could no longer be accessed by those who start a course at 19.

The government repeatedly states that its reforms are all about getting people off benefits. But the rhetoric doesn’t match the reality; Care to Learn has a proven track record when it comes to its recipients going into further education or work.

This cut is based on a completely false economy. Not only will it save very little in the short term but cost more in the long term when those that have been denied access to education can’t find employment and are stuck on benefits.

And, like so many other coalition policies, it will hit women hardest – 99% of recipients were women in 2008/09. Yet despite this fact, there is no equality impact assessment of the proposals.

There’s no logic economic or otherwise to cutting CtL back. It’s a callous attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society that will freeze young mothers out of education and trap them and their children in the cycle of poverty.

EVENT: Estelle will be speaking about the equality impact of cuts to Care to Learn and other FE and HE cuts at the TUC Equality Deficit conference in London on 16 November. Find out more and register online here.
GUEST POST: Estelle Hart is the National Women’s Officer of the National Union of Students. Prior to her election Estelle served as thefulltime women’s officer for NUS Wales for 2 years and during this time she was also a member of the NUS NEC representing the women’s campaign. Estelle has an interest in violence against women and has been a member of the Welsh Government’s violence against women and domestic abuse working group overseeing the implementation of the Welsh Government’s VAW action plan. Estelle is interested in the impact economic policy has on women’s equality and the mainstreaming of feminism in curricula. Estelle also sits on the executive of the national pro-choice campaign group Abortion Rights.

One Response to Care to Learn: The Government needs to start caring for the future

  1. Pippa Lane
    Nov 7th 2011, 2:44 pm

    Hi Estelle, a great shame that Care to Learn is likely to be scaled back. You might like to look at our evaluation of it last year