Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas has today offered his support for Ken Livingstone’s policy promise to reinstate the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to students across London if he is elected Mayor this May.

Under the Tory-led government's abolition of the scheme, around 85,000 16-19 year olds in London now miss out on the weekly allowance of up to £30 per week.

Ken visited Dagenham and Rainham two months ago in January and met with Jon Cruddas and local councillors and residents. During his visit, Ken attended a Question and Answer session at Barking and Dagenham College in which young people from the area were encouraged to question Ken and express their own opinions. The discussion covered a wide variety of topics, including; youth unemployment, tuition fees and, naturally, EMA.

Following on from public consultations such as these, Ken has recently pledged that he will work to restore a London-wide Educational Maintenance Allowance of up to £30 per week term. This will be done by bringing together existing funds in colleges, universities, and local authorities, and working with the Association of Colleges, London Higher and councils across London to deliver this.

In explaining his new flagship policy promise, Ken said: "I have been deeply struck by the plight of thousands of students I have met at colleges right across the capital, who have had the lifeline that EMA offered snatched away from them by the Conservative party, whilst the part-time Tory Mayor stood by.”

Local MP Jon Cruddas has praised the move, stating; “This promise from Ken Livingstone epitomises the choice Londoners will have on May 3rd. Ken understands ordinary Londoners and will fight their corner, whilst the Conservative candidate Johnson is more interested in protecting his friends in the financial sector. Ken is the only candidate who will deliver for Dagenham and Rainham.”

Ken Livingstone discussing the concerns of young people at Barking and Dagenham College