Tag Archives: EMA

Pictures from Save EMA – Make the Bankers Pay





On Wed 19th January, over 100 students, education workers and anti-cuts activists gathered in Birmingham City Centre to protest against the scrapping of EMA.  That evening parliament voted with a 59 majority to scrap EMA – a benefit of up to £30 paid to students in further education from families with incomes below £21,000.

The IFS found in a study last year that EMA pays for itself, increases participation in education and improves educational outcomes.  A UCU survey this month found that 70% of students in receipt of EMA would not be in further education without it.  Over 75% of students in Birmingham receive EMA.

Youth unemployment nationally is now over 20% – and since Birminghams unemployment rate is twice the national average, it is likely that youth unemployment in Birmingham is considerably higher than that.  The scrapping of EMA will see fewer students entering FE, and instead they will sit on the dole, receiving no training or education whilst costing considerably more.

Geoff Dexter photographed the event, and you can see his photos here

The protesters gathered at the corner of New St/High St for a rally, with FE students; Secondary school workers and activist from Education Activist Network speaking about the importance of EMA and the effect of the scrapping of EMA, as well as the wider cuts in education that have and are happening.

They then marched down New Street, with RBS and Vodafone closing and locking their doors as the demonstrators passed by, before occupying Lloyds-TSB in protest at the bonuses being paid to bankers at nationalised banks – bonuses that could pay for the cuts in education.

Bank bonuses are largely paid to executives and traders – people doing exactly the kinds of jobs that brought down the banking system in 2008, forcing the UK government to nationalise 5 banks, and underwrite the debts of others in order to prevent complete financial collapse.  These bailouts lead to the deficit we now have, that is being used as the reason for cutting expenditure.

Whilst ordinary people face cuts – like the £300m that will be cut from Birmingham City Council’s budget – bankers continue to enjoy large bonuses, and grow ever richer.

Bankers caused the crisis, but it is working class people who are paying for it.



Filed under Cuts, Events

Save EMA – Make the Bankers pay

The Education Activist Network have called a further demonstration about the scrapping of EMA on the 19th whilst parliament debates the scrapping of EMA, on Wednesday 19th January:


Date Wednesday 19th January Time 4pm Assemble front of Waterstones, The Bullring

Dear friends and comrades,

On Wednesday 19th January, MPs will debate the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance. So many existing students would not have been able to study without EMA; now it has already been closed to new applicants and could soon be scrapped altogether.

Students have already begun protesting to defend EMA, with a day of action in December and determined demonstrations this week in cities from Leeds to Truro. And after MPs voted to raise tuition fees last term, university students are organising to put to the test the French slogan: “What Parliament does, the streets can undo”.
The Education Activist Network are helping to build a local protest on Wednesday.

This follows on from a demonstration on the 11th that saw 40 students, education workers and council workers gather to demonstrate against the scrapping of EMA and cuts in secondary education.  The demonstration included an occupation of RBS, drawing attention to the £7Bn of bonuses being paid to bankers and traders by a nationalised business, whilst the rest of the country faces austerity measures.

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Save EMA Birmingham reports

ITV Central

Right to Work

Socialist Worker

Student protestors were today joined by workers and parents to protest against the scrapping of EMA, which pays up to £30 to students from families with low incomes who continue into Further Education. A report from the IFS found that EMA pays for itself and increases education participation and improves outcomes.

The protestors began at Waterstones, and decided to occupy RBS which announced £7Bn of bonuses earlier this week, to highlight the inequities of the cuts – which are hitting working class families hardest, whilst leaving the wealthiest untouched (remember that the Times rich list 2010 showed that the richest 1000 individuals in the UK increased their wealth by 30% between 2009 and 2010 – some £80Bn).


It has been reported that Parliament will vote on EMA on the 19th January now.  We hope that they will vote to keep EMA, and would encourage everyone to write to their MP, using http://www.writetothem.com, to express your support for a benefit that directly allows working class people to continue in education, and improve their skills and qualifications.

We will let you know of anything further protests or actions that are planned in Birmingham, so you can join the students on the streets to fight this cut.

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Save EMA Birmingham Jan 11th

To coincide with the vote on EMA in parliament, Stop Fees and Cuts Birmingham have called for people to write to their MP and councillors to help to prevent EMA – a means-tested payment made to students in Further Education – and to attend a demonstration in Birmingham City Centre from 4pm, January 11th, meeting by Waterstones near the Bullring.

They have setup a facebook event with more information


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