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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 March 2011

Gove's EMA concession not enough

Demand a living allowance for Further Education students

Claire Laker-Mansfield Socialist Students national organiser
November 24th student demonstrations against tuition fees rises and the abolition of the EMA, photo Senan

November 24th student demonstrations against tuition fees rises and the abolition of the EMA, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

For school and college students, education minister Michael Gove's latest announcement of a scheme to 'replace' the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) will have left a bitter taste.

His new allowance scheme amounts to a mere third of the funding which was available to students previously with EMA.

This is coupled with a complete lack of clarity on how this 'targeted' financial support for students will be delivered, making it likely that many of the small number of students who are entitled to it, will not receive it.

In fact, this was the education minister's attempt to mollify some of the massive, growing opposition towards the government's spending cuts. And from this, young people and workers can take heart.

This was a retreat by the government - brought on by the huge student movement at the end of last year, as well as by the massive 26 March trade union demonstration.

The Tories and the Liberals are beginning to feel the heat, and on EMA, they are already on the back foot.

Save our EMA - student demonstrates against the cuts with Youth Fight for Jobs placard

Save our EMA - student demonstrates against the cuts with Youth Fight for Jobs placard   (Click to enlarge)

In some ways, the most important part of Gove's announcement was the promise that those students who began their studies this year will continue to receive EMA until their courses end next year. This is a small victory that has been won by mass protest, and it is very significant.

Significant, because it shows the government is being forced to backtrack. But it is also important because it means EMA will be in existence for another year - we have more time to fight to save it! Meanwhile, Southwark council in south London has pledged to initiate a scheme to continue to provide an EMA-type grant if the government scheme is abolished.

If councils across the country began implementing 'needs budgets' (which included the continued funding of an EMA scheme) and mobilised students, trade unionists and the local communities in support, then the government could be forced to find the money.

These small victories are an indication of what could be to come as the anti-cuts movement gains momentum.

The fight for education and a decent future isn't over, with a mass movement with a fighting strategy, we can defeat the Con- Dems!

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In The Socialist 30 March 2011:


Anti-cuts campaign

We said: NO CUTS!

Hands off our NHS!

Save Sure Start Services

On the move in London to fight the cuts


Socialist Party editorial

Defend the Libyan revolution


Socialist Party feature

TUC demo biggest in decades

Socialists on the 26 March demo


Socialist Party news

Gove's EMA concession not enough

MPs back the Jarrow March for Jobs

Budget fuels determination to fight back!

Socialist receives 12% of the vote in Bellingham, Lewisham

Against cuts? Support the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Fast news


Socialist Party workplace news

Saltend workers stand firm

PCS wins ballot in Jobcentre Plus contact centres

Unison health conference: Time for action to defend our jobs, pensions and the NHS!

Vote for a fighting democratic Unison leadership

In brief


International socialist news and analysis

Portugal Government falls amidst mass protests

The consequences of the earthquake disaster in Japan


Socialist Party review

Review: Blue Labour


 

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