Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to the Education Select Committee’s report on 'Participation by 16-19 year olds in education and training', said:
“This report is a devastating verdict on Michael Gove’s mishandling of his decision to replace the Education Maintenance Allowance.
“It blows a hole in the Government’s only argument that it used to justify its decision – the so-called deadweight cost argument – and raises serious doubts about the replacement scheme.
“Young people and colleges need to know where they are working. We are months away from the start of the new academic year and there is still real confusion about what, if anything, the new bursary scheme will provide.
“The Government needs to go back to the drawing board. I call on the Secretary of State to accept the Committee’s recommendation to look again at providing a clear entitlement for support.
“Ministers must also act urgently to protect quality, independent careers advice for young people.
“I am pleased to see the Committee echoing Labour’s call for face-to-face careers advice to be retained. At a time when young people are facing record levels of unemployment, and the rising cost of higher education, it is vital that they have access to good quality advice support.
“With every day that passes, we are seeing further damage to our Careers Service. It is in melt-down with no sign of the promised transition plan.
“The Government should accept this recommendation today and put a freeze on further redundancies until transitional arrangements are in place.
“Lastly, the Committee is right to call on the Government to rethink its decision on entitlement funding for colleges.”