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Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Opposition Day — [9th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 3:26 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Liberal Democrat, Mid Dorset and North Poole 3:26 pm, 19th January 2011

I had better not, given the time.

There is a big difference between school, where free school meals are available, and the local college. Young people's life chances can be transformed by going to college, but they need to have enough food.

I draw attention to the young people who are vulnerable and particularly disadvantaged-those not living in a family home for whatever reason, children in care, care leavers, young people who are homeless, children and young people with learning difficulties, teenage parents and young carers. We need some red lines: some groups of young people must be protected, come what may. In future, we must enhance access, ensure success and allow our young people to achieve their potential, regardless of background and financial circumstances.

I have two specific questions. One is about young people who are part-way through courses and who may not have EMA for the next year of the course. How will that be tackled? Will there be ring-fencing? I am worried about colleges and schools having pots of money and its going off into other activities. Finally, we seem to be facing a big threat today, but together we could work on the opportunities arising from it.