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Students gather for EMA protests

19/01/2011 Joanna
Thousands of students across the UK are gathering today (January 19th) to show their opposition to the government's plans to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

The government said it wants to axe the scheme, which costs £560 million a year and replace it with more "targeted" support.

However, shadow education secretary Andy Burnham has accused the Conservatives of back-tracking on pre-election promises they made not to cut EMA.

"If you pull the rug from under [low-income students], the state will have to pick them up in a different way - it might end with them on the benefit system. Where's the sense in that?" he told the BBC.

Speaking earlier this week, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the government is taking a "huge gamble" with the lives of young students by scrapping the benefit.

"Without it many thousands of students will be forced to drop out of college and thousands of others will be denied an education beyond 16," she added.
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