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Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Scottish Executive Question Time — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:40 am on 2nd December 2010.

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party 11:40 am, 2nd December 2010

I reassure the member and the chamber that, as I have said, there are no planned changes to the EMA. The EMA programme overspent in 2009-10 and it was necessary to look at it extremely carefully. I made a commitment to review it in December this year. In the process of the budget discussions, I was very keen to defend the EMA, which I think is highly effective. I am glad to say that that has happened—student support is being maintained. These are exceptionally difficult times, but I know that the poorest in society need the most help. We are targeting them most effectively, which I remind the chamber is not something that others have chosen to do. The fact that we have made it a priority to support students will have an effect on education. [ Interruption .] I hope that the member and all other members, including the one who is shouting, welcome that commitment, because it should be welcomed by the entire chamber.