Saturday, December 04, 2010

Save EMA - take action

Good to see UNISON promoting Save EMA day on Monday 13 December.

The campaign to save Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) deserves the support of all trade unionists and working people – EMA is a weekly allowance for low paid teenagers continuing in education. In 2009/10 some 635,000 learners received at least one EMA payment, and around 80 per cent of those the full £30. These are not well-off families: the maximum payment is only paid to those with total household incomes of less than £20,817 in 2009/10. (Source – NUS).

You would think that Parliamentarians would understand the need for a bit of cash help to cope. Even after massive reductions, MPs claimed £3.1m in expenses in the first four months after the general election – and there are one thousand times fewer MPs than there are learners in receipt of EMA.

Last Wednesday week I was struck by the support for EMA at Lambeth College, where we collected 400 signatures at lunch time from existing students, the great majority of whom will not themselves be hit by this. I hope that UNISON branches across our Service Groups will respond to the call for action on 13 December.

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