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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 sorry, Mr Deputy Speaker.

The hon. Member for Nottingham North-a Labour Member-and the right hon. Member for Birkenhead are quite clear that we should invest in the early years. That is what the coalition Government are doing, and at a greater rate and in a more powerful way than the previous Government. The investment in early years, the reform of education, the investment in the pupil premium and the range of reforms that I mentioned earlier-the right hon. Member for Leigh has remained silent about them-make up a powerful package to generate greater social mobility.

The question for all hon. Members is: are we going to be sufficiently grown up to acknowledge that we have a deficit, or are we going to be deficit deniers? Are we going to be progressive enough to target support at those who need it most, or are we going to say that the existing system is perfect and need not be reformed? Are we going to say, "Let's get our whole school system right," or are we just going to spend more on one unreformed benefit? There is a basic choice today: vote with the Opposition, and therefore vote for reaction, complacency and deficit denial; or vote with the Government, and therefore vote for progressive policies, an education policy that will really change things and an opportunity, at last, to kick-start social mobility in this country.