Labour pledges to bring back maintenance grants if they’re elected
Labour leader and Shadow Education Secretary claim the money could be found by raising business taxes – Tories hit out saying it’s just talk.
Jeremy Corbyn and shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, have announced plans to invest in students from lower-income backgrounds by promising to bring back maintenance grants, which have been scrapped this year in place of further loans.
Labour have also said they’ll reinstate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) which was ditched by the coalition government back in 2011, if Labour win the next election.
Jeremy Corbyn has made education the main focus in his campaign for re-election as leader of the Labour Party, accusing the Tories of “commodifying” the university system. Love him or hate him, it’s great to finally see an MP standing up for students!
Aside from the grant scrap, students have this year alone seen the £9,000 tuition fee cap removed so unis can start increasing fees, as well as shady retrospective changes being made to repayment terms so students start repaying their loans earlier.
Young talent in low supply
The education maintenance allowance – which involved weekly payments of £10-£30 being given to 16-18 year olds to encourage them to stay in further education colleges – was deemed a “poorly targeted” use of educational funding and removed by the coalition government the same year that tuition fees were raised to £9,000 (thanks guys!).
However, UCAS has reported a rapid decline in the number of 18-year-olds applying for university this year, which has prompted unis across England to open applications for Clearing early and offer various various incentives like iPads and free tickets to premier league games to encourage more applications.
Who will pay for the grants?
Ex-chancellor George Osborne announced the Conservatives’ decision to scrap student maintenance grants in his last budget, claiming that there was a…
basic unfairness in asking taxpayers to fund grants for people who are likely to earn a lot more than them.
However, Corbyn and Rayner have said that they plan on footing the bill for reinstating the maintenance grants using corporation tax, rather than individual tax-payers' money.
They claim they'll pay for the support of 1.25 million poorer students by increasing corporation tax by up to 1.5%, but the Tories have hit out saying that without a full and proper explanation of the figures, the pledge is “little more than warm words”.