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Education Maintenance Allowance

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the merits of introducing (a) late payment penalties and (b) compensation to recipients for late payments of education maintenance allowances by the Learning and Skills Council. (265536)

The issue of late payment penalties is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) who manage the contract for the delivery of the education maintenance allowance. Geoff Russell, the LSC’s acting chief executive, will write to the hon. Member for Cambridge with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Libraries.

There are no plans to pay compensation to learners whose payments may have been delayed. If learners have suffered hardship because of late EMA payments we would expect colleges to use the discretionary learner support funds to support them as these funds are designed to support learners in financial difficulties who may be in danger of dropping out of learning. All eligible learners who applied before the end of October 2008 will receive their EMA payments backdated to the start of their course.