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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

EMA tops Ken Livingstone's youth manifesto

Ken Livingstone launching his "EMAction day"
Labour candidate for Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today promoted his pledge to restore a London-wide EMA, the headline commitment in his Manifesto for Young Londoners. whistle-stop morning tour of Further Education colleges in the capital. In addition to the pledges to drive down the cost of living for all Londoners and cut fares by 7%, Ken’s promises to young Londoners, if elected in May include: 
1,Restoring the London-wide Education Maintenance Allowance
2,Re-establishing a London Child Poverty Commission
3,Creating a London Apprenticeship Offer, and piloting a pre-apprentice course.
4,Creating jobs for young Londoners from the Olympics legacy and across the GLA
5,Work with businesses to promote Saturday jobs
6,Providing safe place for young people who are threatened by gangs and violence
7,Campaigning against rises in tuition fees
Mr Livingstone said: “Young people in London face one of the toughest times in memory, with 1 in 4 young Londoners now unemployed, rising levels of poverty and inequality, and London becoming an increasingly expensive place to live. This is why Young Londoners need to be aware of what is at stake for their future, at this election.  By ensuring they are registered to vote and casting a Labour vote on May 3rd they will have a mayor who will ensure they are better off – from cutting the fares to restoring EMA for London.”
However Mr Livingstone has been roundly criticised by his opponents and independent sources such as Channel4's fact check team who described his pledge as "fiction" concluding that "Mr Livingstone does not have the power to automatically bring the EMA back to life. That said, it’s not impossible. He’d need to convince local colleges to pool their resources in order to make savings on the administration costs. Yet his team admit themselves that not all would be keen to do this. What’s more, it seems that pooling resources would save just a tiny fraction of the £55m needed to plug the gap between the old scheme and the new".
On tuition fees Mr Livingstone has always campaigned against them, as has his Conservative opponent Boris Johnson but as the The Politico Daily exposed on March 19th the Labour candidate talks about opposing tuition fees but when he was MP for Brent Central and Mr Blair's government brought in tuition fees, Mr Livingstone didn't bother to turn up to the vote let alone vote against them. As the same article shows Boris Johnson has repeatedly voted against tuition fees. 
On May 3rd young people may well vote for Ken Livingstone on the strength of the promise to "restore a London-wide Educational Maintenance Allowance" if Ken wins I believe the sense of betrayal when it finally hits home that he can't do it will be a bigger betrayal than that of Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats over tuition fees in 2010. Ken Livingstone, should he win, will reap what he sows as like Nick Clegg he will never be trusted again.