Tag Archives: educational maintenance allowance

Leadership and the C-word

Venn diagram of Lib Dem/Tory influence on Coalition policies“Two non-entities” – the curt analysis of historian David Starkey on the Lib Dem leadership race seems unduly harsh. But as a semidetached

Lib Dem looking for an excuse to reattach I have at the very least been struck by just how similar the two Lib Dem leadership candidates are.

The Lib Dems are now a very new and fresh party in the sense that most members have joined in very recent years or even months. For those of us with decades of libdemmery under our belts, Ed Davey and Jo Swinson almost feel like extended family. They are resilient folk who have been around for ages. Both of them are very much to be admired for withstanding the humiliation of losing their seats and then clawing those seats back.

White, middle-class, Oxbridge/Russell group, neither at first sight really exude life’s hard knocks. In fact, both have put forward moving accounts of just how searing real life can be. Jo Swinson’s speech in Parliament on combining politics and early motherhood was an astonishingly frank tour de force. Ed Davey’s poignant radio interview on his experience of early bereavement was truly memorable.

But, and it’s a very big but, how do we process their work in coalition? There is a poverty of debate in the party about the Coalition and about… err… poverty. The Lib Dems dropped austerity unceremoniously in 2015 (almost as suddenly as it was adopted back in 2010) and by 2017 it was almost as if the Coalition had never happened.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 139 Comments

Free school meals for infants – the controversy over Nick Clegg’s pledge rumbles on

Clegg WatfordI wrote yesterday about Sir Nick Harvey’s forecast that the next election is Labour’s to lose. But there was another issue he focused on in his Huffngton Post interview – Nick Clegg’s conference pledge that all 5-7 year-olds should have free school meals, regardless of their family’s income status.

“It was absolutely astonishing. It came from nowhere,” he exclaims. “It seemed to be part of some coalition deal where it was meant to make the Lib Dems feel better about allowing the Tories to progress their wretched married

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 44 Comments

The path to 2015 should be one guided by our principles, not by doubt

Before the Christmas break, I produced an article on Lib Dem Voice about how the EU veto could and should be the first step of many where our party expresses its individuality in coalition loud and clear. After this blog I saw many opinion articles about where we stood on various issues. The conclusion? Varied.

Let’s just take one example – tuition fees. Some of us think we will be congratulated at the next General Election for making the loans system fairer. Wrong. While ensuring that up-front fees are in the past and protecting graduates by asking no one to

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

Simon Hughes writes… Educational Maintenance Allowance: a grown-up replacement

One of the first tasks which the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minster gave me when they appointed me to the job of Advocate for Access to Education was to advise on the replacement for the Educational Maintenance Allowance. Since then I have travelled across the country to listen to young adults in school and further education colleges about how they think students should be supported in education.

The overriding concern that students across the country had was travel. They wanted to know that the money was there to pay for their travel to school or college.

Other important things that students …

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments

Educational Maintenance Allowance: how hard is it for the new policy to be better?

Yesterday Michael Gove, finally, announced the government’s proposals for replacing the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) scheme. As previously trailed, Liberal Democrat pressure has secured more than £100m extra for the plans.

The £180m being spent on the new scheme compares to the £560m cost of the EMA. At first glance, that is a large cut. But if you view the key objective for the funds to be helping more people to take part in post-16 education, then the picture looks very different. That’s because several different studies of EMA concludes that the vast majority of its funds went to people …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

Educational Maintenance Allowance: more details of replacement emerge

It’s been rather a self-inflicted wound by the Coalition Government to leave such a long gap between announcing that it would abolish the Education Maintenance Allowance and publishing details of what will be introduced in its stead. I’m happy to wait until we know what the replacement will be like before judging whether the EMA abolition is a good move or not, but it’s not exactly a surprise that many people have made up their minds knowing only part of the story given that huge gap.

That said, the substance of the issue is an important one and the noises coming …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 47 Comments

PODCAST: Q&A with Business, Innovation and Skills team

Earlier today, Simon Hughes, Lorely Burt, Vince Cable and Ed Davey joined chair Sal Brinton to answer questions from the audience about post offices, tuition fees, the education maintenance allowance and cutting red tape for small businesses.

You can hear the session in full by clicking the “play in a new window” link below.

Coming up later today: our podcasts of the Nick Clegg Q&A and a recording of our own fringe meeting, which is happening right now.

Play
Posted in Conference and Podcasts | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 2 Comments
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