UK Politics

Boris Johnson calls Michael Gove over EMA replacement

Mayor Of London Boris Johnson
Image caption Mr Johnson said he wanted "another look" at the new scheme

The London mayor has called Education Secretary Michael Gove to explain his concerns over plans to replace student Education Maintenance Allowances.

Boris Johnson phoned Michael Gove after voicing reservations about the policy on the BBC's Question Time programme.

The Greater London Authority would work with the government to ensure the plans did not have a disproportionate effect on Londoners, said a City Hall source.

But a source close to Michael Gove said the policy would not change.

He added a "courtesy meeting" would take place between GLA and Department for Education officials.

The government has announced a £180m bursary scheme to replace the Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA), which were scrapped in England last year. EMA schemes in Scotland and Wales are continuing - and the allowances in Northern Ireland are under review.

EMAs are support grants for low-income 16 to 19-year-olds in the UK to help them stay in education. Some existing recipients are still being paid the allowance.

Speaking on Question Time on Thursday, the Mayor said he was concerned the changes would have a significant impact on young people in London.

He added: "Speaking as the mayor of the city, yes I do want to see, I want to have another look at this.

"I'm grateful for what Michael Gove did, I think that was the right move. I think that there needed to be an evolution of the policy."

But he added: "I have to tell you that I don't think that we've seen the end of the story."

Mr Johnson is understood to agree with the principle of the change, but is concerned about the impact on London.

This is not the first time the Conservative mayor has publicly challenged decisions made by Tory ministers.

Last October he queried plans for a cap on housing benefits and told the BBC: "We will not accept any kind of Kosovo-style social cleansing of London."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites