Save EMA forces second Tory u-turn in a week

James Mills celebrates two Tory u-turns in a week on Education Maintenance Allowance - but the battle is not won yet.

By James Mills of the Save EMA campaign

On Tuesday the Save EMA campaign managed to get the government to u-turn on Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and now it seems we got the mayor of London to change his tune too last night too.

In last night’s episode of BBC Question Time, mayor of London, Boris Johnson said on EMA:

“I am concerned it will have a significant impact on lots of young people in London… I very much hope the government recognises that there are a huge number of young people whose families are on very low income…”

David Dimbleby asked:

“So you want to have this reviewed?”

Boris Johnson replied:

“Yes… As the Mayor of the City… I want have another look at this.”

Watch it:

This is in contrast to what his spokeswoman said to the BBC following the Save EMA demonstration attended by hundreds at the London Conservative party conference in February this year:

“A mayor of London spokeswoman said Mr Johnson had no control over the education budget.”

Boris Johnson has probably said more words in Greek and Latin in the last six months since the government scrapped the scheme, than he has on EMA, despite there being almost 100,000 teenagers on EMA in London. If this is not an empty sentiment then he will sign our petition and call on the government to reverse their decision to scrap the scheme, otherwise Londoners will feel this is just hot air and he is simply the mayor of bankers and not Londoners.

Our campaign has so far saved EMA for around 40,000 teenagers in London currently on the allowance, following the u-turn we forced the government into this week by threatening them with legal action. However, the bad news is that they still plan to scrap EMA for new students starting courses in September and cutting funding by almost 70 per cent.

According to a recent YouGov poll almost half of Londoners oppose the abolition of EMA, almost a third of Tory voters and 50 per cent of Lib Dem voters also think the government was wrong. So it’s not surprising that Boris needs to sound like he is changing his tune, the big question whether or not this is just hot air or does he mean it.

What is undeniable is that Michael Gove has really made himself some enemies by scrapping EMA, as according to recent polls, almost half the British public oppose scrapping the scheme. But now the Tory mayor of London Boris Johnson is calling on him to rethink his policy on EMA.

Maybe it’s time for the government to consider doing the right thing and just reinstate EMA.

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