Students and activists in Truro will protest on the 11th of January against the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance, which benefits thousands of young people in Cornwall. Since EMAs are provided by local councils, we will be marching from near the college to County Hall in defence of the up to £30 a week payment which is targeted at students from deprived and lower-income backgrounds.
The demonstration will begin at around 12:15, with campaigners congregating in McDonald’s car-park. Local media and supporters are urged to come, as well as students from Truro College and other sixth forms and schools in the city.
The scrapping of the EMA scheme will make it significantly more difficult for many young people to continue with further education and then go on to higher education, meaning university education will once more become inaccessible to working class students. This effect is intensified when the tripling of tuition fees is taken into account. It is clear that the Tory-led coalition is intent on making it as difficult as possible for those who aren’t wealthy to stay on and study after school.
EMAs have increased further education attendance, helping cover the cost of transport, books and resources for over 600,000 post-16 year olds. It is vital that we defend the scheme, brought in by Labour only seven or so years ago, and the demonstration hopes to pressure both Cornwall Council and central government to keep providing it. We do have the money to keep the EMA – the richest thousand in the UK last year increased their wealth by £77bn, and bankers took in £7bn in bonuses this Christmas. An increase in taxation upon that wealth could cover continuing the EMA scheme and abolish tuition fees.
Bring placards, banners, and friends!
Those who do not wish to march from near Truro College to County Hall can meet us there – it is expected that we will arrive at County Hall at around 1pm.