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Ed Miliband backs campaign against abolition of the education maintenance allowance

13 December 2010 | last updated: 5 June 2019

Labour leader Ed Miliband today backed the campaign against the abolition of the education maintenance allowance.

In an interview with the Save EMA campaign, the leader of the opposition said: 'I know the difference EMA is making to young people up and down the country. I am an MP in Doncaster and know how important to young people, parents and teachers EMA is and how upset they are it is being abolished. EMA has made a huge difference to kids staying on in college and that is why I am part of this campaign.'
The news comes as staff and students at colleges and sixth-forms around the country hold protests against government plans to axe financial support that can often be the decisive factor when it comes to students staying on in education.
The campaign is being run by the Save EMA campaign, the National Union of Students (NUS), the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the University and College Union (UCU), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), NASUWT, GMB, Unison and Unite.
Studies show that the EMA is a key factor in improving participation in further education and sixth-form colleges which are in some of the most deprived areas of the UK. Campaigners believe they will be the hardest hit if the government breaks its pre-election promise and scraps the EMA. In some areas of Birmingham, Leicester and the North West, as many as four-fifths of students receive the EMA.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Ed Miliband's support is a welcome boost to the campaign to save the EMA. Today's protests at colleges and sixth-form colleges up and down the country should act as an urgent wake-up call to the government. Withdrawing the EMA will hit some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society, as well as the colleges that are there to serve them. "
James Mills, founder of the Save EMA campaign, said: 'This is a really important endorsement which shows how opposed people are to the abolition of this allowance. This underlines the importance of our campaign and this is just the start of a long battle to make sure that we save the EMA and the future prospects of over half a million young people in England.'
Shane Chowen, NUS Vice-President (Further Education), said: 'As the government's assault on the next generation continues with the proposed abolition of the EMA, parliamentary support for this support lifeline is vital and I hope that we continue to be joined by supporters from all parties.'