‘No’ to Gov plans to scrap student maintenance grants

university graduates. Photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire
university graduates. Photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire

The other week, MPs had the chance to vote on the Government’s plans to scrap maintenance grants for students. They had originally attempted to force through these sweeping changes in a committee of just 12 MPs - rather than on the floor of the House of Commons where all MPs could have their say.

It’s not just going to hit students from poorer backgrounds; the Government’s own equality impact assessment shows mature students, women, disabled learners and students from ethnic minority backgrounds will be detrimentally impacted by the scrapping of maintenance grants. The Government is curbing young people’s aspirations and limiting their opportunities to get on in life when they should be doing all they can to ensure those from the poorest backgrounds reach their full potential.

Cat Smith

Cat Smith

In Westminster I met with the Flooding Minister, Rory Stewart MP, and am optimistic I may be able to work with government, the Environment Agency and local councils to be able to deliver some good news for farmers who are still under water almost two months later. I have visited constituents at their homes and businesses to hear first-hand their experiences and fears, but where there have been organised meetings like the Cockersands Forum Meeting in the Thurnham Institute I have discussed longer term issues.

I have had a meeting with Electricity North West about their declaration they won’t pay compensation and I find their position short-sighted and unhelpful. During the incident they won a huge amount of goodwill and I’m pleased they managed to resolve a very difficult situation as fast as they did. The staff on the ground were brilliant but their management seem to be doing everything they can to lose that goodwill. I have highlighted examples when many of you lost huge amounts of frozen food close to Christmas, many of you were cold and refrigerated medicines were lost risking health.

I’m continuing my conversations with the company, which turns over millions in profits every year, and fighting for payments for local people and charities.