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Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Opposition Day — [9th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 3:15 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield 3:15 pm, 19th January 2011

I will not give way. The fact is that we could have that negotiation and discussion. It is right that there should be priorities, but removing the EMA will hurt all communities, up and down the land. In my constituency of Huddersfield, two FE colleges, Kirklees college and Huddersfield New college, depend heavily on educational maintenance allowances; they do a wonderful job in bringing young people who would not otherwise have the chance into education across the piece.

I am reminded that many people on the Conservative side do not actually know much about FE. [Interruption.] Listen a minute. Only last June, the Association of Colleges gave a golden award to six people who went to FE colleges. A person could not get through the Conservatives and Liberals who were gathered around Colin Firth as he got his award. He never went to university; he went to an FE college. Those people in this House who understand the wonderful job that FE colleges do will share my feeling that this is a shameful day in educational policy-a day on which the Secretary of State did not have the courage to defend his arguments, but instead first used the lifebelt of taking more and more interventions to save him making a speech, and secondly went on about the broader economy. This is a shameful day, and the Secretary of State should be ashamed of it.