Earlier this month, an early day motion put to the House of Commons called for the restoration of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
Photo: Harriet Jones
The failure of local Liberal Democrat MP Simon Wright to support this motion underlines his indifference to student issues. Responsible for representing a large community of students, Mr Wright has failed to show solidarity with and support those who he will seek to re-elect him in 2015.
The motion recognised that EMA had allowed 16-19 year olds from some of the poorest families access to further education. Education stands as the best route out of the poverty trap. Wright has failed to be a standard bearer for striving students. Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed attainment at GCSE and A Level by EMA recipients had risen by 5-7%, and by even more for those living in the most deprived neighbourhoods. Additionally, RCU Market Research Services found that EMA had motivated learners to work harder.
The impact of the abolishment of EMA has been detrimental, with UCAS figures for the last academic year showing 56,000 fewer students choosing further education. After voting with the Conservative-led government and supporting EMA’s abolishment in 2011, Simon Wright’s failure to support this early day motion signals his continued support for a policy that will only stagnate society.
With recent research exposing the depressed living standards of middle to low income families in Britain, coupled with the use of food banks doubling under this government, the necessity for an educational maintenance allowance is as apparent as ever.
Only a small investment to restore EMA would broaden the opportunities of many. Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations understood that in order to increase GDP, investment in human capital is a necessity.
Simon Wright has stood silently by as the chance to stand by the students who elected him has come and gone. Students, ask yourselves, where on earth is Simon Wright MP?