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Education Maintenance Allowance

Volume 518: debated on Monday 15 November 2010

10. What assessment he has made of the likely effects on levels of participation in post-16 education of the withdrawal of education maintenance allowance. (23528)

We are committed to making sure that young people participate in education and training until they are 18. We will replace EMA with a fund that can more effectively target young people who actually need the support to enable them to participate.

We all know that scrapping EMA, as well as the Government’s change of heart on tuition fees, will adversely impact the poorest children. What proper guarantees will the Minister give us that children from poorer backgrounds will not drop out of education just because they cannot afford it?

Let us look at the details a little more, because the hon. Lady will wish to do so. The figures and the evidence show that we are spending more than £560 million to pay 650,000 young people to incentivise them. Only 10% of those young people need that to enable them to participate in learning post-16. That means that the Government have spent £9,300 each year for every additional young person whom EMA has supported to participate. We simply want to spend that money more wisely on the very people the hon. Lady champions.