Scrapping maintenance grants is a cruel mistake by the Tories, and means that the poorest students will suffer.
As you will be aware, in January the government decided to scrap maintenance grants for the poorest students. Adding salt to the wound, they decided to do so via a committee of just 18 MPs, denying a full debate on the issue in parliament. However, Labour decided to use one of our alloted Opposition Days to debate the decision. This culminated in Labour proposing a motion to scrap the government's decision, but unfortunately we were outvoted due to the Tories' majority in parliament.
The Conservative government's replacement of maintenance grants with loans may dissuade many students from modest backgrounds from going to university, while none the less resulting in large sums never being paid back to the Treasury because graduates will go into what the Prime Minister described recently as “menial labour jobs”.
In the words of the University and College Union:
“Maintenance grants are crucial for engaging students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are already daunted by cripplingly high tuition fee debt. Increasing the debt burden…will act as a disincentive to participation."
The scrapping of maintenance grants is a mistake. I can only hope that one day soon a Labour government will be in a position to reverse this, and make education affordable once more.