From The Guardian: When the education secretary, Michael Gove, was interviewed by Education Guardian readers before the general election, he flatly denied that the education maintenance allowance (EMA) was for the chop, saying: “Ed Balls keeps saying that we are committed to scrapping the EMA. I have never said this. We won’t.”
So it was a surprise to many to hear, in last week’s spending review, that the EMA was to be among the casualties. The allowance, which dates back to 1944, was revised by the Labour government into a means-tested national scheme supporting young people from lower-income families in 16-19 education. The chancellor, George Osborne, said the £30 weekly payment was to be replaced by “more targeted support”, though he did not say what.
And while the government claims it is putting more money into education for school-aged children, 16- to 19-year-olds appear to have been left out in the cold. As well as abolishing the EMA, the government plans to reduce the amount of funding per student for sixth-formers.