14/04/2015

SDLP Slams Ministers Decision To Cut Student Support Fund

The SDLP has slammed the Employment and Learning Minister for withdrawing funding from Patways Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) after "virtually no consultations".

Employment and learning spokesperson Pat Ramsey said he will continue to oppose a cut to the student support fund.

He said: "I was shocked to hear that the Employment and Learning Minister has decided to withdraw funding for Pathways EMA after virtually no consultation with the young people this will affect or their youth service providers.
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"Pathways EMA provides a vital allowance that makes further education or training accessible to those young people most in need of support. This is an allowance which was paid to almost 1700 young people who are not in employments, education or training. These young people and the organisations supporting them have had their future’s thrown into uncertainty and the Minister must account for that.

"Minister Stephen Farry has broken the commitment made in the Pathways to Success Strategy and in doing so has undermined the support offered to those young people most in need of education and training support. I understand that organisations involved in administering Pathways EMA were first informed of this cut in a letter dated 1st April which outlined that no claims would be accepted after 29th March. That is an unacceptable way to do business and the Minister should now explain himself to the Employment and Learning Committee."

(CD/MH)

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