MP says return of grants will aid Fylde Coast

Students protesting at the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance
Students protesting at the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance
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A Blackpool MP said Labour’s plans to bring back cash aid for disadvantaged students will be a lifeline to young people on the Fylde coast.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said this party’s pledge to reverse the Conservative’s decision to scrap the £30 Educational Maintenance Allowances for disadvantaged students and to bring back maintenance grant for university students was fair.

Labour says it would pay for the support for 1.25 million poorer students by increasing corporation tax by up to 1.5 per cent.

Shadow Further Education and Universities Minister Gordon Marsden said: “I’m delighted we have been able to make this commitment this week.

“It is a beacon of hope to all those in the town going on to Higher Education or thinking about it. The figures I quoted when I led Labour’s opposition debate over the Government scrapping these grants in Parliament in January show that over half a million poorer students nationwide are losing out from their decision.

“Many of those students are doing degree courses at further education colleges, like our own excellent Blackpool and The Fylde College. Restoring the grant would benefit around 1,500 students there, and encourage others to apply.

“Thousands of other students from Blackpool, many of them at universities in Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester and Salford as well as UCLAN would get the benefit too.

“Restoring the Educational Maintenance Allowance, which the Tories scrapped, and which helped 16-18- year-olds from poorer families in Blackpool in full time education to boost their participation and aim for Higher Education, is the other part of this package. Research showed it helped those students get better grades and A-levels and I know from my conversations with Blackpool teachers and students how badly it has been missed.

“A new EMA would benefit around three quarters of a million young people countrywide, and at a time when people across Blackpool are getting their A-level results and other qualifications, it shows them we have a positive and fully costed strategy to help them get better jobs, skills and careers.

“It is fully costed at £2.4bn from official figures. Restoring the grants and the EMA would be paid for by a 1.5 per cent rise in Corporation Tax, which would raise £ 3m.”

A Tory spokesman said: “We have reformed the financial support for 16-18-year-olds who are most in need, in contrast to the costly and poorly-targeted Education Maintenance Allowance.”