Story: Lydia Flanagan
After hearing about proposed cuts, young people from across the country are campaigning against the loss of EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) in fear of it damaging their ability to stay on in further education.
As well as cuts to EMA, other cuts are being made to funding supporting young people, such as those for study support groups and youth clubs. There are worries that these cuts could cause real problems for young people, as the potential to spend time in education and out of school activities decreases.
Young people at Burngreave After School Study Support have been making banners ready for a demonstration on the 29th January 2011 organised by the Sheffield Anti Cuts Alliance and would like to encourage other young people to support the campaign and join the protest. The march will start at 12noon outside Weston Park (near the Children’s Hospital) and finish up at the Town Hall. Also part of their campaign is a petition going around the local area and schools to take their views to the Councillors on the 2nd February 2011. A great number have already signed to show their support, but more signatures will show the Council how strongly the local area feels about the cuts.
The importance of EMA
EMA is a financial support scheme set up in 1999 to help young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds with the costs of education, and provides an incentive to carry on after compulsory education finishes. Pupils between the ages of 16-18 can receive between £10-£30 pounds a week depending on their household income. This money over the years has been used to pay for things such as text books, various equipment for courses, uniform and important everyday things like travel fare and lunch money. However, from 1st January 2011, the Government has decided to stop EMA because they feel that it is too expensive to carry on with the scheme as it costs them millions per year, only those who have applied before this date will receive EMA until the end of this academic year. Many feel that cutting funding to young people is not the best way to secure a brighter future, as it has been proved to make a significant difference on young people in education. Research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has shown that the uptake of further education significantly increased in those eligible for EMA after it was introduced.
Download the Young People Against the Cuts petition from their website http://youngpeopleagainstcuts.wordpress.com/