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Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Opposition Day — [9th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 2:15 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education 2:15 pm, 19th January 2011

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, whose commitment to this issue I know to be profound, which is why he raised it on the Adjournment last week, when the Minister of State, Department for Education, my hon. Friend Mr Gibb had a chance to reply. I would, of course, expect that in any disadvantaged constituency such as the one that the hon. Gentleman represents so well, a significant number would be in receipt of EMA. Nearly half of students receive EMA.

I put that to the right hon. Member for Leigh, but I received no reply. He grudgingly acknowledges, under questioning from Government Members, that there is a case for reform-so far, so good-but when put to the test and asked what sort of reform, what numbers, what tests and on what basis, he did not- [Interruption.] Is he now retracting? Free bus travel is mentioned, but has the cost to the Exchequer been taken into account? [Interruption.] Look, I am asking the right hon. Gentleman questions, but once again he is ducking and diving, dodging and weaving, and refusing to address the vacuum where policy should be.