Labour pledges to bring back EMA

The Labour Party has pledged to reinstate the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) if it is elected into power at the next general election.

The plans were announced along side a promise to reinstate maintenance grants, signalling that Labour will put education at the forefront of its campaign.

EMA was a cash payment introduced by the Labour government in 2004 that supported 16-18 year olds from lower income backgrounds to stay in education by giving them £30 a week to help with their basic needs while studying.

The policy was scrapped by the coalition government in 2011 as part of its effort to reduce public spending.

Announcing plans, Labour referenced a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which concluded that EMA considerably increased the number of young people staying on at school and that the costs of providing EMA were likely to be exceeded in the long run by the higher wages that recipients would enjoy in the future.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Educations Secretary, said: “Today’s commitment to restoring both EMA and student maintenance grants shows that while the Tories continue to burden our young people with debt, the Labour Party is committed to investing in our young people. It is only by investing in education that we can ensure that all of our young people, whatever their background, are able to succeed in whatever they aspire to.

“This policy will have a real and meaningful impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of students.

“Bringing back EMA, which the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said improves both participation and attainment among 16-18 year olds, would benefit three quarters of a million students.”

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