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​​​​​​​Social Mobility Commission report highlights damage done by grant cuts

30 April 2019 | last updated: 3 May 2019

UCU has welcomed a call from the Social Mobility Commission to improve funding for students, especially those from the poorest backgrounds.

UCU acting general secretary Paul Cottrell said: 'The government's decisions to cut the EMA and university maintenance grants were pernicious moves that hit students who most needed support to stay on and get on in education the hardest.

'We welcome the call from the Social Mobility Commission for greater support for education and the vital role it must be allowed to play if we are to improve social mobility. Education can only play its crucial role in improving people's life chances if it gets proper government funding and support.'

In its State of the Nation report, the commission said social mobility had been stagnant since 2014. Despite Michael Gove promising not to axe the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for college students before the 2010 election, it was scrapped in October. Chancellor George Osborne announced the end of grants for students from the poorest backgrounds in 2015, forcing students starting university in 2016 to take on larger debts.