Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/739/15570
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Standing for the 99%! Bring back EMA
Tom Baldwin, TUSC mayoral candidate
I am standing for mayor to give a voice to the many young people who are having their futures stolen from them. When campaigning at sixth forms and colleges two issues in particular are always raised.
One is the trebling of university fees to £9,000 a year by the Con-Dem government. When I went to university, £1,000 a year fees had been introduced by New Labour which they later tripled to £3,000.
This attack on the principle of free education paved the way for the skyrocketing fees students now face.
The other is the removal of the means-tested Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for 16-19 year old further education students.
Even the government's own social mobility 'tsar', Labour's Alan Milburn, has said that scrapping EMA was a "very bad mistake".
With high bus fares in Bristol, many students found that this small subsidy was vital for getting to college. Some have worried about whether they can finish their course.
These young people are angry and political. Many took part in the 2010 student demonstrations. But they don't feel they have a voice, and as far as the main parties go they're right! Ed Miliband has made it very clear that Labour will follow the same austerity agenda as the Tories and Lib Dems.
That's why I am standing for Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts in the election for Bristol mayor.
Austerity is hurting me and all the people I meet, from the young missing out on the best start in life, to the old who face care homes being closed.
We're standing to provide an alternative and say we won't pay for a crisis we didn't cause. A top priority as mayor would be to implement a local replacement for the EMA. Other local authorities have done it so why should students in Bristol miss out?
TUSC election rally
Wednesday 14 November - 7.30pm
Council House, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR
Speakers include: Tom Baldwin, TUSC against Cuts mayoral candidate; Dave Nellist, former Coventry socialist MP; Sheila Caffrey, Bristol NUT Divisional President (personal capacity) and John McInally, PCS union vice-president
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is an electoral alliance that unites fighting trade union leaders such as RMT transport union leader Bob Crow and others, with socialists such as the Socialist Party.
Find out more at www.tusc.org.uk
In The Socialist 24 October 2012: