Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school

As Education Minister Michael Gove allegedly raised a glass of wine to celebrate the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), thousands of the country’s poorest teenagers would have been debating whether to go to college following the Government’s announcement to “replace” Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

By James Mills of the Save EMA campaign

As Education Minister Michael Gove allegedly raised a glass of wine to celebrate the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), thousands of the country’s poorest teenagers would have been debating whether to go to college following the Government’s announcement to “replace” Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

Prior to the CSR, EMAs were a means-tested allowance of between £10 and £30, paid to 16- to 19-year-olds who stay on in education and who are from deprived backgrounds where household income must be below £30,810 per year.

Those receiving the £30 payment make up 80 per cent of all recipients and to be able to receive this payment it requires household income to be below £20,817 per year.

A survey carried out by the NUS in 2008 found 65 per cent of participants on the highest EMA rate of £30 stated that they could not continue to study without EMA.

The spending review explains that “savings” from EMA are £0.5 billion, almost the same amount saved in the June emergency budget when the Coalition said they were “committed” to keeping EMA. Unless they are saying they can deliver the same scheme for a mere £64 million, which would be quite incredible.

This makes bad long-term economic sense. All that will be created by axing EMA is higher economic inactivity among 16-19 year olds – an age-group who are not able to jump through the many hoops to be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, effectively dumping them on the scrap heap.

Even the DirectGov website recognises the fact the learning a new skill and gaining extra qualification can increase your annual income by £3,000 per year, which would surely help increase tax returns. It certainly doesn’t plan beyond 2015, it is widely recognised that there will be very few unskilled jobs by 2020 and having higher youth unemployment will only increase the welfare budget.

The weight of evidence supporting EMAs is compelling. For example, research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows attainment at GCSE and A-level by EMA recipients has risen by 5 to 7 percentage points since its introduction, and by even more for those living in the most deprived neighbourhoods. Additionally, RCU Market Research Services found in 2007 that

“EMA is reducing NEET (those Not in Employment Education or Training) and also motivating learners to work harder.”

A 2008 report carried out by by Ipsos-Mori, on the effect of EMA and entry to employment, also concluded that EMA was reducing NEET and motivating students.

Scotland provides an example of why EMA shouldn’t be axed – the SNP administration has cut the budget for EMA by 20 per cent and made regressive changes to eligibility criteria. The changes have lowered the threshold for the £30 payment but removed the £10 and £20 payment brackets.

The £20 and £10 payments remove some of the barriers to participation in education, particularly in covering costs towards transport. Figures released by the Scottish Government last year show that the allowance helped school pupils from low-income families stay in education with 77% of school pupils on the EMA scheme for the full year completing the attendance rates and learning expectations set out for them compared to 70% in 2006-2007.

The NUS claimed that it would lead to 8,000 students dropping out and as youth unemployment in Scotland has risen to its highest levels since 1997, it is hard to dispute their early prediction. I will leave you with the words of Alex, one of the many to get in touch with us, summing up the human-impact of the CSR:

“I need EMA otherwise I will have no education. In other words… no future.”

36 Responses to “Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school”

  1. Vic Langer

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA

  2. RECLAIM Project

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA

  3. Emma Rubach

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA

  4. Jordan Hall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA

  5. Shamik Das

    Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA on @leftfootfwd

  6. Dylan Barlow

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA

  7. NUS Student Media

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA

  8. Aaron Kiely

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA

  9. Rosie

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  10. Ma

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  11. Hazico_Jo

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  12. Kevin Arscott

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  13. Brian Moylan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  14. Jordan Hall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  15. Thomas Byrne

    EMA is being replaced because it can be made to work better, money should be made to target poorer students getting to wherever they work more easily. Keeping it as it is, while raising the leaving age to 18 leaves a heck of a lot of waste.

    It’s somewhat doubtful that it actually worked at all. What the NUS did isn’t credible research, you ask people if they need it and of course they say yes – who wouldn’t? The right way to do it is look at the actual numbers of these students going since it was introduced, which have only increased slightly despite EMA costing 500m.

  16. Idle Pen Pusher

    “@leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv @SaveEMA #CSR” yea, those there 4 the EMA

  17. James

    @thomas, it was not doubtful, there are considerably more independent reports concluding that it did work. The example of Scotland where the figures show that it was clearly working.
    You say it can be made to work better but the current government who claimed to support it only till a matter of months ago have practically taken away the budget for it all together.
    What you class as waste other people class as an opportunity, which on Wednesday has now been denied to them.

  18. Vikki

    It is not ‘doubtful that it worked’ EMA was subject to a comprehensive and robust
    Evaluation over 3 years. Reports are on http://Www.education.gov.UK/research

  19. Mr Jabberwock

    Dear Editor

    I am sure it is quite fun but any chance we could curb the “humorous” photos of politicians you want to argue against. It honestly doesn’t make the argument any more cogent or compelling. In fact it tends to make the reader not take you seriously – I suspect.

    I would expect it from Guido, but I sometimes hope for a bit more from LFF.

  20. Chris

    Dear Editor

    Please keep the humorous photos, especially the one of Gove as he is a particularly smug obnoxious turd.

  21. James Mills

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  22. cutchswife

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  23. Save EMA

    RT @shamikdas: Scrapping EMA "makes bad long-term economic sense" http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA on @leftfootfwd

  24. Save EMA

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  25. Save EMA

    RT @uponnothing: RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills …

  26. Save EMA

    RT @brianfmoylan: RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mill …

  27. Jack Scott

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school: http://bit.ly/978Tbv writes James Mills of @SaveEMA #CSR

  28. Edward M (No, I'm not Ed Miliband)

    Aye, keep the picture, I think it represents the less than honourable gentleman accordingly.

  29. Mr. Sensible

    Students looking at this and higher fees may look and wonder why they should stay in education.

  30. Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012 | Left Foot Forward

    […] choice of degree” for thousands of people, adding 16-19 year olds would also be hit by the scrapping of the Educational Maintenance […]

  31. Save EMA » The Government “Misrepresented the facts” when deciding to scrap EMA

    […] jobs without training, which will be hard at a time when there’s no jobs. Something Save EMA has constantly warned is not a long term sensible economic plan as the number of unskilled, unqualified jobs is reducing […]

  32. It’s now official: The government lied when scrapping EMA | Left Foot Forward

    […] jobs without training, which will be hard at a time when there are no jobs. Something Save EMA has constantly warned is not a long term sensible economic plan as the number of unskilled, unqualified jobs in our […]

  33. Save EMA

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school http://t.co/JPKZcCia #SaveEMA

  34. Raymond Shemilt

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school http://t.co/JPKZcCia #SaveEMA

  35. Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology | Left Foot Forward

    […] the government has trebled tuition fees, axed vital financial student support (in the form of the education maintenance allowance – EMA) and got rid of the future jobs […]

  36. Sam hussain

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scrapping EMA will force many 16-19 year olds to leave school http://t.co/JPKZcCia #SaveEMA

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