Leeds protest is organised over axe for study grant

A demonstration was being held in Leeds today against Government proposals to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance scheme.

Students were due to gather for the silent protest in Dortmund Square outside the St John's shopping centre from 5pm.

The demo comes the day before a Commons debate on plans to discontinue the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

EMA is a weekly payment of between 10 and 30 given to 16 to 18-year-olds living in households earning less than 30,800 a year.

Many youngsters use the payments to help meet the costs of travelling to and from school or college.

Ian Pattison, from the Leeds University Against Cuts campaign group, said: "The abolition of EMA is part of a savage assault on the right of young people to a decent future.

"We'll be demanding not only its reinstatement but its expansion into a universal grant for all college students.

"We won't be a lost generation."

The Department for Education has argued that the EMA has large "dead weight" costs, as only 12 per cent of those receiving the grant say they would have left education if it had not been available.

It says it instead wants to target support towards those who face genuine financial barriers to participation in learning.

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