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Labour calls for Council debate on tuition fees and grants

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Meeting of Council on 1st December 2010 was postponed due to bad weather:  The Council will now meet on Thursday 9 December 2010.

Labour Councillor Daniel Sutherland is calling for a debate at this adjourned Council meeting next week.

The latest figures for Calderdale (2009/2010) show that out of around 8000 16-18 year olds, around 6800 were in further or continuing education.  Of those, just over 3000 (nearly half - 45%) were in receipt of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

Cllr Sutherland commented:

The Government is trying to saddle students with tens of thousands of pounds of debt - and many young people won?t get there at all now the EMA has been scrapped.  The Scottish and Welsh Assemblies are protecting their students ? why should students from Yorkshire pay thousands more a year than students from other parts of the UK?

I am trying to get a debate at full Council.  I am also trying to give young people the chance to tell their Councillors how these cuts will affect them.  I am also asking for the leaders of our local FE Colleges and University to tell us what they are proposing to do.

Nationally the Lib Dems are preparing to break their promises, and the Tories are trying to price out of further and higher education less well off students.

As the first member of my family to have the chance to go to University, I have seen the changes in opportunity for young people over the past decade for myself. I fear that these changes will make University an unrealistic ambition for many families once again. I want to know, and people in Calderdale want to know what local politicians believe.

Hundreds of young people have shown through peaceful demonstrations here in Calderdale how strongly they feel ? the Council should respond to that ? they are rightly afraid that this government will rob them of their futures. This motion will give young people an avenue to express their opinions in a democratic manner directly to the politicians who must answer to them.

Linda Riordan MP said:

"The Tory Lib Dem Government's decision to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance is absolutely outrageous; it is yet another attack on squeezed middle and lower income families.

"Education should be a right, not a privilege; this Government's educational policies will take us back not forward and will prevent a whole generation of students from going on to higher education.

"I am fully behind the campaign to restore this allowance, and ensure there is equality of opportunity in education. Thousands of my constituents will be adversely affected by this; we need to send a message loud and clear to the Government and get them to restore this allowance immediately."


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