A reply to Iain Dale

I am very grateful to Iain Dale for pointing out that the Tory flip-flop on Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs] extends back as far as January 2008.

While I was out at various meetings this evening, I had a message from Iain Dale. I am very grateful to him for pointing out that the Tory flip-flop, u-turn or back track (call it what you will) on Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs] extends back as far as January 2008.

The evidence:

– Chris Grayling, January 2005: “Bribing young people to sign up for courses they may not complete might make ministers’ targets look achievable – but [EMAs] do absolutely nothing to help solve this country’s chronic skills shortage.”

– David Cameron, November 2007: “we think there are some really practical problems and issues with that sort of compulsion”

– Michael Gove, January 2008: [Asked if was in favour of EMAs] Yes, absolutely

– Michael Gove, August 2008: Claimed it was a flop and, according to the Guardian, “said fewer than 400 extra children eligible for free school meals (FSM) had stayed on after finishing GCSEs since 2004, despite the introduction of the EMA at a cost of ¬£924m.”

– David Cameron, January 2009: Says again that “Yes” he supports EMAs.

And while we’re on the subject, why has only one Conservative MP signed the Early Day Motion on “the extension of education maintenance allowance to over half a million young people.”

So much for “Game, set, match”, I wonder if Iain Dale will even acknowledge his error.

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