9 comments on “The Pocket Money That Costs £549 Million a Year

    • Agreed – although to abolish means testing completely you would need to go the whole hog and adopt something like the combined tax and benefits system you proposed in the UKIP manifesto.

  1. Spot on!

    To have £30 cash in your hand each week at age 16 can make quite a difference to your lifestyle, especially when compared to those whose parents may earn ‘a lot’ but are struggling to pay bills that, for the lower paid, tend to be subsidised by the state.

    Those who are eligible for EMA might also be eligible for subsidised travel and money towards ‘essential equipment’ – which can include a laptop. If parents are on income support these same students can claim a meal subsidy.

    Children from families earning over the limit get nothing, unless their parents can afford it.

    The differences continue into the higher education system, with subsidies and grants available for some – entirely dependent on parental income (taken into consideration until the student is 25). Students have the same outgoings and similar earning potential after graduation, but only those with ‘wealthy’ parents end up having to repay student loans taken out to pay tuition fees and for accommodation and subsistence.

    • You’re quite right to point out that this continues into higher education. And there, of course, it is even less defensible since students (who are obviously over 18) are clearly treated as independent in every other way.

  2. I spent most of my EMA including bonuses (which includes a £100 leavers bonus) on alcohol, weed, music and clothes, in my eyes money well spent.
    It’s a ridiculous waste of money however you will encounter stiff opposition if you try to scrap it.

    • It may be true that there would be stiff opposition if the government tried to scrap it. But you’ve said yourself that it is a ridiculous waste of money. It’s all very well trying to buy off opposition with taxpayers’ money, but the taxpayers are getting restive already and at some point they themselves will revolt if they think they are being taken for a ride.

  3. I’m at a school in Hertfordshire, quite an affluent area and quite a few people in my school get EMA.

    I think the idea is ridiculous, I know people in private schools with one parent on over £100,000 a year but the other under the threshold and therefore get £30 a week.

    I think this is just another clear example of how the benefit system has become a way of getting free money. I am completely for benefits, don’t get me wrong. But what angers me about people who cheat the system like this, is that they are basically stealing from people who really do need the money.

    • You are quite right, Emma. When people who don’t need State benefits get them, it means there is less for those who really do need them.

      On EMA, the latest news now is that the new government has indeed decided to abolish it. The government statement reads:

      EMA will close to new applicants in England from January 2011. Learner support funds will be available through schools, colleges and training providers to help students who most need it to continue in learning. If you currently get EMA you will continue to receive it for the rest of this academic year, but you will not receive it next academic year

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