MPs will debate and vote on the abolition of the education maintenance allowance (EMA) in parliament on Wednesday 19 January.
The Labour Party forced the debate—the Tories and Lib Dems wanted to steer around the issue without discussion or being held to account. A vote is not required by law.
Student organisations, including the Education Activists Network, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and the National Union of Students are calling for protests across the country on Tuesday, the eve of the vote. On Wednesday 19 January, students will be marching from Trafalgar Square to parliament to show the government their fury.
If the Tories win, the £30 a week benefit – given to college students from poorer backgrounds – will be removed. This will mean thousands can no longer study. EMA means that people can afford to travel to college and buy materials. For some of the poorest families, EMA means enough food on the table.
The Tories are attacking some of the most vulnerable people in society—but school and FE students have shown that they are not prepared to sit back and take it.
Demonstrations against fees and scrapping EMA have seen thousands of teenagers pouring onto the streets. They have fought their way past teachers, over school gates and through lines of police.
University students and workers will join the FE and school students in their protests—make sure you’re with them on the streets
Check http://educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com/ for details.
Leeds Trinity Students Against Cuts joined a Save EMA march in Leeds on Tuesday.
They marched with school and FE students through the city centre, ending at Leeds Metropolitan university for a organising meeting.
Leeds Trinity students are in occupation against the government attacks on education. They will be holding a community and planning meeting on Saturday 15 January in the auditorium at 3pm.
Join them and hear a talk from representatives of Leeds Trinity Students Against Cuts as well as Malcolm Povey the president of the lecturers' UCU union in Leeds.
Around 40 students and activists marched over two miles to Cornwall County Hall in Truro on Tuesday to protest at the government's scrapping of EMA.
Demonstrators carried placards saying “Don't ConDem Us to Unemployment” and chanted “education for the masses, not just for the ruling classes”.
The march headed to County Hall. Drivers hooted their horns in support at angry students with home-made placards.
At County Hall the protesters continued chanting and many members of staff and councillors offered their support. The cold weather and exam period had reduced the size of the protest, but the atmosphere was incredibly positive.
Six protesters got into the main council meeting and began putting up anti-cuts posters and shouting, “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts”, before being removed. The short occupation shifted the debate from the trivial topic of an adult products store in the city to the more important matter of education.
One of the organisers, Max Stephens, said “The fightback has started and we invite people in Cornwall to join us in solidarity in future actions”.
Lisa Camps, another organiser, echoed this, “We won't let our voices be drowned out amid the government's vehemently anti-student rhetoric.”
Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance will be meeting in Truro on 22 January to discuss the next steps in the anti-cuts struggle, and are urging students, workers, activists and other local people to come.
Matt Bradbury and Josiah Mortimer from Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance