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Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Opposition Day — [9th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham Shadow Secretary of State (Education and Election Co-ordinator) 1:24 pm, 19th January 2011

I shall not give way; I am sorry. Those young people feel that Members, and indeed that the right hon. Gentleman, have no real idea of what their lives are like.

Some 80% of recipients come from homes where the household income is less than £20,800 a year, and many live difficult lives. Many are part of larger families and go without the basics during the average week, because they know that anything they take off their parents deprives younger brothers or sisters. Many others are young carers who face some of the toughest circumstances imaginable-like the one whom I met, caring for both parents, at Lambeth college-and try desperately to keep their own hopes alive of a better future while supporting loved ones on meagre resources. Some are young parents who might have missed out on an education and want a second chance, like the young mum from Gateshead who came to our hearing here in Westminster. Some have special needs and disabilities, like Daniel in my constituency, who is on the autistic spectrum. I helped him to find appropriate supported accommodation when he was in his early teenage years, and his grandmother told me at the weekend that EMA had been a vital part of his transition from residential care to mainstream college-vital in helping him to learn the everyday skills of managing his life.