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Still No Joy For Students This Summer

Green Party MP Sue Bradford said she was very disappointed the Government had effectively ruled out reintroducing the Emergency Unemployment Benefit for students this summer.

Ms Bradford used question time in parliament this afternoon to question Social Services Minister Steve Maharey on whether he still believed the cuts to the EUB were "mean spirited" and would place students education at risk, as he stated in 1998, and whether he would reinstate the benefit this summer.

"The Green Party are disappointed that the Government appear to have no plans to address the glaring inequity that prevents unemployed students accessing the emergency unemployment benefit between academic years," said Ms Bradford.

"The Greens believe universal access to an unemployment benefit for people who genuinely need it is a basic human right. The last two summers have shown the country in no uncertain terms that thousands of students who cannot get jobs do need this benefit very much indeed."

Ms Bradford said the Government defeat of her Bill last week which, among other things, sought to reintroduce this benefit had seriously disappointed the student community and young members of Labour and the Alliance. Ms Bradford's bill had been in the ballot since early this year.

"The Greens see this issue as a matter of priorities," said Ms Bradford. "Mr Maharey is on the record as saying it involves only a small amount of money, yet it is money that can make the world of difference in allowing students to keep their flats and eat."

Ms Bradford said making students up to 25 years old dependent on their parents for financial support was cruel and humiliating.

"Although we are still no closer to getting this benefit reinstated in time for this summer I still believe that if the pressure continues to build the Government cannot afford to ignore this situation for much longer," she said.

Ends

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