And so it has now been confirmed after a final last ditch attempt in the House of Commons this evening, EMA is to be axed. Another broken promise from Cam/Clegg putting another nail in the nearly sealed coffin of the aspirations of the young people in this country. Already, the tripling of tuition fees will mean that those from poorer backgrounds won’t be able to go to university. Now, after the scrapping of EMA, those in this same group who may have been unsure if they could afford the cost of university won’t even be able to afford to stay on and learn at college or sixth form. It’s nothing short of disgraceful that the futures of our younger generation have been shot down in this way in just over 8 months. The good work of the last Labour government undone so quickly and with such little consideration as to the consequences it will have for them, the future of this country.
One of the reasons I’m Labour is that I recognise that the initiatives set up such as EMA and Aimhigher meant that I was able to go to this great university. I honestly don’t think I’d be here without them. I received EMA while I was studying my A-Levels a few years ago. I had no choice but to go to an inner city college 4 miles away from my house. My school’s sixth form closed down while I was there because the demand was so low for it. I was left with the cost of transport to pay, which was about £40 a month. I had the other expenditures such as stationery and food to consider on top of that which soon adds up, trust me! The argument by this government, that somehow this money is being wasted by students, just doesn’t wash with me I’m afraid. There was very little left over for to be spent on ‘social costs’ or whatever else they want to think it is spent on. I understand this may not be the case for everyone receiving EMA but the vast majority of students need this money to stay on and study. For me, and like with so many others, the simple fact was my parents wouldn’t have been able to help me out financially. So to put it bluntly, I would have been a bit buggered. Come the summer, so many will now be.
And on today of all days, the final decision comes: on the same day that the worst 16-17 unemployment figures are released since records began. A staggering 1/3 of young people in this age group are out of work, with the story being far gloomier in certain parts of the country. The shocking reality is that this will only get worse thanks to the abolishment of EMA coupled with the tuition fee rise. More young people will be condemned to the dole queue with such low prospects for the future. This is not how the government should be treating the next set of workers and great contributors to our economy. Labour gave the younger generation like me a leg up but, sadly, today this Tory-led government have decided to push them all back down to the ground.