UPDATE: Huppert Gives EMA Protestors The Slip

Students gathered outside Cambridge station yesterday to protest MP Huppert’s plans to vote for the scrapping of EMA, but Huppert was a no-show.

anglo ruskin Cambridge Coalition cuts ema government huppert julian huppert sixth formers

UPDATE:

Julian Huppert has tweeted The Tab, following his no-show at the demonstration yesterday morning.

Huppert tweeted: “@tabcambridge it’s worth highlighting the protestors didn’t tell me when or where they’d be, or ask to meet me!”

Read Oscar Williams-Grut’s take on the protestors failure to use modern methods HERE.

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Around 50 students gathered at Cambridge railway station yesterday to protest against MP Julian Huppert’s plans to vote in favour of proposals to scrap EMA. But, the MP was a no show.

Students from Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin were joined by local sixth formers, all hoping to convince Cambridge MP Julian Huppert to vote against the coalition government’s proposals to scrap education maintenance allowance.

Students gathered at at the station at 7.30am hoping to catch Huppert on his commute to Parliament. Many carried banners with slogans such as ‘This concerns everyone’ and ‘Social Mobility RIP’.  Some protesters even went to the effort of creating Huppert masks, and the crowd chanted “Julian Huppert, Tory puppet”.

The protest was called after Huppert announced his intentions to vote in favour of scrapping EMA.

But protesters were left red-faced when Mr Huppert failed to turn up. Huppert later claimed that he had “an early start today,” and so had stayed in London.

Cambridge student Joey Davis who was at yesterday’s protest said: “It’s hypocritical of Huppert to claim he is on the side of the students.”

Albert Webster, a teaching assistant, also expressed anger towards the plans. He accused the government of treating funding for education “as if it were a business opportunity, rather than a social good.”

Protesters at the station yesterday

Huppert issued a press release today, in which he stated: “It is vital that we continue to offer support to those in need who wish to access education. Our education system should be open to all regardless of their financial situation.

He highlighted the fact that the government is already working on a new system to replace EMA, offering “more targeted support for those who face genuine barriers” which will allow deprived young people to participate in our “first class” education system.

For many sixth formers, EMA is a lifeline which allows them to stay in education, paying £10-£30 a week to 16-18 year olds in households with an income of less than £30,800 per year. A poll for the University and College Union reported an astonishing 70% of pupils would drop out of college if the EMA was withdrawn.

Protests also took place in London, but despite this, yesterday’s vote to reconsider plans to scrap the £30-a-week allowance for 16- to 18-year-olds was eventually defeated by 317 votes to 258.

The government’s plans for a replacement for EMA are yet to be announced, but until they are many students could be left in the lurch.