Iain Roberts writes on Liberal Democrat Voicc:
For all of the noise Labour’s making about the EMA, you might not realise that it was their idea to scrap it. Before he was an ex shadow chancellor, Alan Johnson was Secretary of State for Education and in April 2007 he made it clear that Labour was planning to scrap the EMA.
"An incentive scheme that rewards 16- to 18-year-olds for staying in education post-16 will be abolished when the leaving age is increased to 18.
"The Secretary of State for Education said last week that education maintenance allowances (EMAs) would no longer be necessary when the age is raised in 2015.
"Giving evidence to the Education and Skills Select Committee inquiry into 14-19 education, Alan Johnson said: 'The EMA is there as an incentive to stay on. We will not need to incentivise after 2015.'"
It’s notable not only that Labour have conveniently forgotten their plans from Government, but also that the Labour Government did not see the EMA as the best way to help poor students through their post-16 studies.
This comes on top of the revelation that Alistair Darling planned to increase VAT to 19% if Labour got in again at the last election.