Flatlining EMAs and Reductions in College Budgets Bad News for Our Young People

5 March 2013

Councillors Laurie Bidwell and Lesley Brennan have highlighted a £270,000 drop in the overall amount spent on Education Maintenance Allowances in Dundee over the past 4 years.

Spending on EMAs at college level tumbled by over £110,000 while at school level it decreased by around £160,000.

The uptake of EMAs in deprived areas has also fallen .

Commenting on the figures, Councillor Laurie Bidwell said, 

"At a time when there aren't many jobs in Dundee available to school leavers, gaining more qualifications can make a crucial difference to securing a job or place in further training. 

“The Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) was designed to help more 16-19 year olds either stay on at school beyond S4 or sign up for a course at a Further Education College and gain those qualifications.

“The EMA is available to eligible 16-19 year olds and is worth £30 per week.

"The recent release of figures for EMAs awarded by the Scottish government shows a decline over the last four years rather than an increase in Dundee.

“This adds up to a reduction in the number of students from low income households who are staying on at school or doing a College course.

“At a time when youth unemployment in our city is stubbornly high, this reduction in EMAs is a backward step.

“The SNP in Scotland has already cut spending on further education colleges like Dundee College and they are now planning to cut another £50 million from the budget for Colleges over the next 2 years.

“As a result, the number of teaching staff, courses and places will be cut, and the ability of the colleges to help more students improve their skills and job opportunities will be reduced.

“Taken together these reductions in EMAs and cuts in College budgets are bad news for our young people." 

Councillor Lesley Brennan said,

“The economy and the community benefit from investing in students staying on at school or going to college to improve their qualifications and skills.

"Previous research has estimated that the net economic benefit to Scotland from the work of colleges could be at least £1.3 billion a year.

“For every £1 invested in colleges, an estimated £3.20p is generated in assets.

“I know that many young people in the East End Ward would benefit from the personal advantage that comes from staying on at school or doing a training course at College.

“Not only would each student gain, but it would also give a handsome payback to us all in Dundee."


Educational Maintenance Allowance expenditure in Dundee

 At college level

2008-09   £352,930

2009-10   £306,470

2010-11   £261,160

2011-12   £240,000

The amount spent has fallen in each successive year in the past 4 year period.

Over £100,000 less is now being spent on educational maintenance allowances than there was 4 years ago.

EMA uptake in deprived areas in Dundee .

2008-09   520

2009-10   480

2010-11   470

2011-12   475


Overall expenditure  

2008-09   £ 970,870

2009-10   £894,800

2010-11  £668,680

2011-12  £698,190

The overall picture over the past 4 years shows a fall of around £270,000.


 At school level

 2008-09  £617,940

2009-10   £588,330

2010-11  £407,520

2011-12  £458,190

Overall the amount spent in the past 4 years has fallen by around £160,000.