PAYMENTS which help thousands of Huddersfield teenagers go to college could be saved.
The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) closed to new entrants this month.
The programme provides needy teenagers with between £10 and £30 a week to stay on at college.
The Conservative/Lib Dem government decided to phase out the £500m-a-year EMA and replace it with a new system.
But Labour will submit a motion to the House of Commons today demanding that the allowance is reinstated.
Dewsbury Conservative MP Simon Reevell said yesterday he may not back his party in the Parliamentary vote.
He told the Examiner: “We’ve yet to see the actual motion which Labour will propose, but I suspect it will be designed to try and embarrass the Government rather than further the argument.
“I’m unlikely to vote with Labour, but I won’t necessarily vote with the Government. Abstaining is a way of showing how important something is without joining in with the Opposition.”
Mr Reevell believes poorer teenagers in his constituency need help to stay in education.
He said: “I’m sure there are some people who get the EMA and spend it on going out, but there are a lot of kids who need the money to go to college.
“I’m in favour of young people who need help getting help but I’m not hung up on whether or not it’s called the EMA.
“I don’t want to see anyone being disadvantaged by a change in the system.”
However, Mr Reevell’s Conservative colleague Jason McCartney said yesterday he would vote against the allowance.
The Colne Valley MP said: “At Kirklees College, 78% of pupils get the EMA. At Huddersfield New College the figure is 55%.
“It’s clearly got out-of-hand and become distorted. It needs to be replaced with something which is a lot more targeted to help those who really need help.”
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker will also vote against the EMA today.
The Conservative said: “The UK government is the only government in the world that pays students to go to school. There are better ways of targeting money to those who need it.
“The new discretionary fund will make sure that those children who most need support will get it.”
Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman will back the EMA tomorrow.
He said: “I think it was an excellent policy because 16 to 18 is a critical period when some kids with talent drop out.
“The case for the EMA is unanswerable. Scrapping it is real disaster for social mobility.”
The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is paid to college students from lower-income households.
Teenagers whose parents earn less than £21,817 a year receive £30 a week.
Students from households with income between £21,818 and £25,521 get £20 a week.
Young people whose families earn between £25,522 and £30,810 receive £10 a week.
At Greenhead College, 680 of the 1,850 students (37%) receive EMA.
Some 1,214 of 2,200 students (55%) at Huddersfield New College receive EMA.
At Kirklees College, 2,652 of 3,400 students (78%) receive EMA.
Across the three colleges, 4,546 of young people receive the EMA – meaning the weekly bill is between £45,460 and £136,380.