BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 8 July, 2002, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Anger at education scheme benefit cut
bricklaying training
Money helps poorer teenagers to continue learning
Anti-poverty campaigners have reacted angrily to the suggestion that the chancellor will abolish child benefit for over-16s to pay for an expanded scheme of education grants.


... we plan to introduce it nationally, using the money currently spent on child benefit post-16

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, 1998
It is expected that the education maintenance allowance (EMA), which has been piloted in various forms, will become a national scheme in the chancellor's spending review.

Reports over the weekend suggested this would be paid for by an announcement in the autumn pre-Budget statement that child benefit would be used to fund the expansion.

The Child Poverty Action Group said it "strongly opposed" such a move.


Abolition of child benefit could create understandable resentment for families on modest incomes

Child Poverty Action Group
"An expansion of the education maintenance allowance scheme should not, and need not, be funded by the removal of child benefit," said the group's director, Martin Barnes.

"Abolition of child benefit could create understandable resentment for families on modest incomes.

"Child benefit has been paid to parents in the areas where education maintenance allowances have been piloted, so the impact of abolishing child benefit to finance a national scheme is not known," he said.

"A commitment to tackling child poverty requires a commitment to maintaining a universal benefit which helps prevent families' falling into poverty in the first place."

But the replacement of one scheme with another is what the government has envisaged all along.

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, said in July 1998: "To raise Britain's appallingly low staying-on rates, a new educational maintenance allowance, linked to attendance and based on parental income, will be piloted for 16 to 18 year olds.

Reduced costs

"If, as we expect, the new educational maintenance allowance succeeds in encouraging young people to stay on in education, we plan to introduce it nationally, using the money currently spent on child benefit post-16."

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: On the one hand ...
This approach had been recommended by the Commons education select committee in a report the previous month.

Its then chair, Margaret Hodge, is now the minister for lifelong learning and higher education.

The saving on one would easily cover the cost of the other - because child benefit is paid to all families with children still in full-time education, whereas EMAs are means-tested.

Possible extension?

Research done in 1998 estimated the saving on abolishing child benefit at 930m - it would be more now.

The figure suggested last week for expanding EMAs was 600m.

The net result is that those on above-average earnings will lose out - paying to encourage children from poorer families to stay in education or training after the age of 16.

The surplus saving of at least 300m has led some to speculate that this could be used to fund maintenance allowances in higher education.

The government's review of student funding is still awaited. The select committee's report on the subject is expected to be published on Thursday.

See also:

02 Jul 02 | UK Education
02 Jul 02 | UK Education
28 Jun 02 | UK Education
02 May 02 | UK Education
02 Jun 00 | UK Education
23 Apr 02 | UK Education
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes