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Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Opposition Day — [9th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 3:52 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Dan Rogerson Dan Rogerson Liberal Democrat, North Cornwall 3:52 pm, 19th January 2011

I, too, will attempt to keep my remarks brief to allow as many hon. Members to speak as possible.

Mr Sheerman, the former Chair of the Select Committee, talked about the tough choices that face the Government. I welcome that, because although he has come to a different conclusion-he suggested bigger class sizes-at least it shows that he is thinking about these ideas and putting forward alternatives. Perhaps he has a firmer grasp on reality than his Front Benchers, who seem to be ignoring the pressures and pretending that we are living in an ideal world.

I certainly do not want to see changes that would lead to what Labour Members are intimating, which is that all the young people who could receive EMA will suddenly find themselves unable to go into post-16 education, but I do not believe that that will happen. Many young people are fighting hard to stay in education and to take the opportunities that are available to them, and there needs to be support for them in the form of the advanced fund that the Government propose. Support also needs to be given by working with local authorities to get them to face up to their statutory responsibilities to provide access.