EMA Protest In Cambridge

19 January 2011, 11:12 | Updated: 19 January 2011, 11:34

Students gathered outside Cambridge Railway Station this morning, to protest against proposals to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance.

Differing reports indicate between 30 - 90 demonstrators gathered there.

It's thought they wanted to get their point across to Julian Huppert, the Cambridge MP, who normally commutes to London from Cambridge on the train.

However, it's understood Mr Huppert had stayed in London the night before and so did not pass the protesters.

Ministers are debating government plans to scrap the EMA form 16 - 18 year olds later.

The weekly payment of between £10 and £30 is paid straight into bank accounts of young people who are eligible to receive the benefit, which is designed to help young people afford to stay in education.

However, the government plans to scrap the scheme at the end of the current school year, because it is "poorly targeted and expensive to administer".

About half of all young people are eligible to receive it, but the Conservative / Lib Dem coalition wants to "support those young people who really need it" instead.

Daniel Zeichner, the Cambridge Labour Parliamentary Spokesperson, claims the change will cut the benefit to around 6,000 young people in Cambridgeshire, including more than 1,300 students at Cambridge Regional College, around 600 at Long Road Sixth Form College and almost 300 at Hills Road Sixth Form College.

He said: "EMA has not only boosted staying-on rates, it has improved performance and attendance.

Before the election, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats promised that EMA would be kept.

They must keep that promise in the vote in Parliament.”