Save EMA is a progressive political campaign. It aims to provide a voice to over half a million of the poorest young people in Britain, who face the potential loss of the vital Education Maintenance Allowance.
The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a means-tested allowance of between £10 and £30, paid to 16- to 19-year-olds who stay on in education.
Rolled out nationally in September 2004, EMA is intended to help with the cost of books, travel, equipment or anything useful to the continuation of learning. It’s paid straight into the pupil’s bank account, not their parents or their college, giving them independence and forcing them to take charge of a small weekly budget. The payments are under the condition that they attend classes regularly. If the pupil works hard or achieves good grades, there is the opportunity to earn bonuses.
EMA is available to 16-19 year olds who come from low income families and whose household’s net income is below £30,000 pa. There is an additional grant for those students from families household income is up to and below £20,000 pa. EMA currently exists all across the UK although the administering of it is devolved to the regional parliaments of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
About Save EMA
The Save EMA campaign aims to:
- Get every party to be as clear as possible about where they stand on EMA;
- Get those parties who oppose EMA to change their policy;
- Give a voice to those students currently receiving EMA to enable them to express support for it;
- Increase awareness of EMA and its benefits.
- Get a vote on EMA in parliament, so it is shown the same attention as tuition fees.
- Fight the cuts to EMA by any peaceful means possible!
About what Save EMA has achieved so far…
Save EMA was set up in Novermber 2009 to protect EMA once the school leaving age is raised to 18, and we succeeded in lobbying the previous government to commit in March 2010 to keep EMA “up to and beyond” the time the school leaving age is raised. We also managed to get David Cameron and Micahel Gove on record to also commit to supporting EMA. Then once elected we managed to get Nick Gibb, the Tory Minister responsble for EMA to commit the new government to supporting EMA.
So you can see why we are angry! Because as of October 2010 in the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Tory-led government announced plans to scrap EMA by removing 90% of it funding.
We have succeeded in raising awareness of EMA, and making it a major issue.
There was not going to be a vote on EMA like the one on tuition fees in December 2010, because its classed as departmental spending. So we lobbied the Labour party to make sure there was one by an email campaign, and we succeeded. There was a vote on EMA on 19th January 2011, although we did not win the vote, the campaign continues by other methods now there is plans a foot for a legal challenge supported by our trade union colleagues to fight the government in the courts.