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Education Maintenance Allowance

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to the answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 10W, on education maintenance allowance, if he will publish the daily processing statistics on the education maintenance allowance which his Department has received from the Learning and Skills Council since September 2008. (253075)

I have regularly written to update the Select Committee on the delivery of the education maintenance allowance (EMA). Those updates have been copied to the hon. Member and copies placed in the Libraries. In the most recent update, dated 28 January, I reported that as of 23 January over 520,000 young people had received EMA payments in this academic year. This is over 1,000 more than at this time last year.

As I also reported in my letter of 28 January, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and Capita are confident that they have accurate data on the numbers of EMA learners enrolled and those in payment. However, they have advised that the data on the number of applicants may include double counting. The LSC has therefore commissioned Capita to carry out a data-matching exercise to eliminate duplicates.

Given the possibility that the data on applicant numbers may be inaccurate, it would not be helpful or in the public interest to publish the daily statistical reports that the Department received from the LSC between September 2008 and January 2009. The key figure is the number receiving payment, which I have regularly provided.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many applications for education maintenance allowance were lost between 1 August 2008 and 31 December 2008; and if he will make a statement. (253193)

This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Mark Haysom the LSC's chief executive, will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the both Libraries.