Legal bid for allowance

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LEGAL action could be launched on behalf of South Yorkshire teenagers hit by the decision to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance.

A legal case is being drafted by a campaign group on behalf of students who stand to lose the grant, which is worth up to £30 a week for the poorest and is meant to help them stay on at school or attend college.

Although the Conservatives said they had “no plans” to end the EMA before the last election, Mr Gove announced last year the scheme would be scrapped because administration costs were too high.

Figures obtained by The Star this year showed 18,701 people across South Yorkshire aged between 16 and 18 claimed EMA in 2009/10. Some 6,879 were in Sheffield, 3,864 in Rotherham, 3,536 in Barnsley and 4,422 in Doncaster.

Around 45 per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds nationally claim between £10 and £30 a week, eligible for those living in households earning under £30,800.

Trade union lawyers are examining whether they can win payments for students who began courses in September expecting two years of financial support.