Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Opposition Day — [9th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 4:17 pm on 19th January 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole 4:17 pm, 19th January 2011

I was questioning not the take-up rate but the study apparently showing that 90% of young people would have continued with their studies without it. From my own limited experience in the education field, I certainly do not believe that to be true. We should not get too hung up on that.

In my intervention on the Secretary of State, I mentioned that I represent some very deprived communities in Goole, which certainly need support, and some largely rural areas that also require it. It is a shame, as I said, that our local council has made it more difficult for young people in the north Lincolnshire part of my constituency by raising the cost of their travel passes by 500% in one year and again in subsequent years. As I said to the Secretary of State, I hope that whatever replaces EMA will take into account those costs.

I also try to take account of the views of local colleges on this issue. There is Goole college-a small college in my constituency-but most of the young people in my patch have to travel into Scunthorpe or go to colleges in Hull, Selby or York. All those colleges have written to me, asking for support to continue in some form and requesting more information on what will replace EMA. They advanced a powerful case for how EMA support has enhanced not only attendance and participation, but the commitment of young people to their studies.

I confess that I am not so obsessed about whether the replacement of EMA stays in the same form, as there have been some negatives, which I saw as a practitioner. I once did a period of supply teaching in a private school. That was not really me, although the kids were wonderful. One kid there was receiving EMA through certain mechanisms, but I did not think that that was right by any stretch of the imagination. A young lad came to my surgery not so long ago who complained about not getting EMA despite the fact that his friends were-