Brighton students protest over maintenance allowance

Student protests Students are protesting at plans to scrap the education maintenance allowance

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Students are staging a protest in Brighton in opposition to government plans to cut the education maintenance allowance (EMA).

The students gathered at City College in Pelham Street alongside other campaigners and trade union representatives.

The government plans to scrap the scheme, which ministers have called inefficient, from September 2011.

Chancellor George Osborne said the EMA had very high "dead weight costs".

'Political vandalism'

The public sector union Unison said it estimated 50% of students at City College received the allowance, along with 30% of students at the sixth form college Varndean College, and 20% at BHASVIC, another sixth form college in the city.

Branch secretary of Unison, Alex Knutsen, said: "EMA is one of the 'jewels in the crown' of further education, enabling working-class young people to have opportunities for university and skilled employment."

He added: "If the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats get away with this cut, then it is purely and simply, a piece of political vandalism."

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