Labour sets out a bold plan on how it will reverse the Conservative government’s abolition of student grants and EMA support if it wins power at the next General Election.
In a move aimed at increasing the number of poorer school students remaining in education, the new policy will support over a million students and will be paid for by increasing corporation tax by less than 1.5 per cent.
· EMA was a cash payment introduced by the Labour Government in 2004. It was a cash payment to 16 – 18 year olds from lower and middle income backgrounds that provided financial support to students to help with their basic needs if they stayed in full time education.
· According to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies report, the benefits of EMA overwhelmingly outweighed the costs.
· Their research showed that participation among 17 year olds increased by 7 per cent and among 16 year olds by 5 per cent. Among girls, the IFS stated that EMA had considerably increased the number staying on at school.
· The IFS went on to say ‘the study concluded that the costs of providing EMA were likely to be exceeded in the long run by the higher wages that its recipients would go on to enjoy in future.
· In this year’s budget, the Conservative Government abolished maintenance grants for students from low and middle income families. Over half a million students will be affected, forcing them to take on more and more debt simply for seeking an education.
· The Department for Education’s own figures show that the trebling of fees has clearly impacted the number of state educated pupils going to university.
Commenting on the announcement, Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Educations Secretary, said:
“Today’s commitment to restoring both EMA and student maintenance grants shows that while the Tories continue to burden our young people with debt, the Labour Party is committed to investing in our young people. It is only by investing in education that we can ensure that all of our young people, whatever their background, are able to succeed in whatever they aspire to.
“This policy will have a real and meaningful impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of students.
“Bringing back EMA, which the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said improves both participation and attainment among 16-18 year olds, would benefit three quarters of a million students.
“Reversing the Government’s replacement of the student maintenance grant with loans would help over half a million students from low and middle income students to cover their living costs at university.
“When we can help improve the education of over a million young people with a small increase in corporation tax, it is an investment we would be foolish not to make.“
· Institute for Fiscal Studies report on the benefits of EMA: