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Scrapping the EMA will consign a generation to the scrapheap

4 February 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Warning comes on same day as Labour leader says that young people will be worse off than their parents

The head of UCU, Sally Hunt, today wrote to the education secretary Michael Gove, calling on him to urgently reinstate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) or risk consigning a generation of young people to the scrapheap.
The letter comes on the same day that Labour leader Ed Miliband will warn that government cuts to education, jobs and training, including the decision to remove the EMA, will lead to the next generation having 'fewer opportunities and finding it harder to get on than the last.'
A recent survey of 700 EMA recipients, carried out by UCU in conjunction with the Association of Colleges, revealed that seven in ten students receiving the EMA would drop out of their course if the allowance was taken away.
UCU has continually called for the education secretary to visit a further education college, something he has yet to do since taking up his post, and Sally Hunt today invited Michael Gove to visit a college with her.
In her letter to the education secretary, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, writes: 'Far from being a deadweight, the EMA is often the difference between students being able to attend college and complete their course or being priced out. I have met many young people who have benefited directly from the allowance, as well as UCU members whose job it is to help hard-to-reach youngsters. They all talk of the EMA as a vital lifeline.
'I would invite you to take the time to visit a further education college with me so that you can hear directly from students and staff about what a huge contribution the EMA makes. Taking it away risks consigning a generation of young people to the scrapheap and undermining this country's social and economic future.'