I have shown my support for 'Votes at 16' by becoming an official supporter on the campaign’s website. There are over 1.5 million 16 and 17 year-olds in the UK currently denied the vote.
Following the Secretary of State’s statement in the House of Commons on Monday, I welcome the announcement that students who are part way through a course and currently in receipt of the full £30 per week Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) will not completely lose out in the next academic year.
Following an exchange in the Commons during which John Hayes MP (Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning) said that college students' places would not be put at risk by the propsed to the Education Maintenance Allowance, I have taken up the challenge.
I recently visited Lewisham College to talk to students in receipt of Education Maintenance Allowance. 229 of the students who are on two year courses will have their current EMA cut off when year one ends this summer. The students told me they were spending their allowances on books, equipment, fares and food.
“Keep EMA” was the message I received from Lewisham College students when I met a group who are currently in receipt of the Allowance. The Government has said repeatedly that EMA is not well targeted. I wanted to sit down with students to hear their experiences.
On 15 June 2010 I had the pleasure of ‘unveiling’ the solar panels at Edmund Waller School. The panels have been in place since the spring and the school has already saved close to 7 tonnes of CO2.
As part of their Citizenship classes, students from Addey and Stanhope School have been interviewing me about my political beliefs and asking why I will be standing for re-election at the forthcoming General Election.
Whilst at a coffee morning in Telegraph Hill I met a group of local skateboarders who would like somewhere to practise in the area. Obviously this needs to be a location with community support, but I think that providing children and young people with activities close to home is a great idea and I hope that a location can be found.
A new recycling bin is being trialled on the streets of Lewisham town centre, with the aim of encouraging people to recycle their litter. The "Greenie" is a split recycling bin which enables people to drop litter into one of two sections: one for general litter and one specifically for recyclable waste.
Today I visited Crossways Academy in Brockley. During the visit some students took me on a tour of the school's modern facilities. I then meet politics students for a question and answer session on topics ranging from policies affecting young people to the future of the Labour Party.