Gordon has continued to heap the pressure on the Tories’ plans to scrap Maintenance Grants, citing the disastrous impact it’ll have on disadvantaged and poorer students in Blackpool, after he led a Commons debate opposing the changes.
Following on from last week’s “Third Delegated Legislation Committee”, where a handful of Tory MPs snuck through scandalous measures to scrap student grants without a full debate and vote in the House, Gordon, in his role as Labour’s Shadow Minister for Universities, tabled an Opposition Day motion to annul the decision.
Student grants have helped 1,000s of people from Blackpool go onto Higher Education and fulfil their aspirations. However he quoted the example of one constituent - a married mature student and father, who is now considering whether or not he could afford to continue with his education, if the grants were axed.
Speaking after the debate, Gordon said: “Maintenance grants have provided vital support for thousands of students from disadvantaged and low income backgrounds in Blackpool. In 2014/15 alone, over 1,500 people at Blackpool and Fylde College benefitted from such support and we saw the difference they made with the large increases in people from the town choosing to go to University under the last Labour Government.
“However the Tories are putting all this progress at risk and yesterday I was contacted by a number of people, including a mature student from Blackpool, who he felt he was being “let down” by the Government’s plans to axe them and said he was considering whether or not he could afford to continue his studies.
“He is not alone and like many others in Blackpool, they are having their life chances wrecked by a Tory Government, who are making Higher Education unaffordable and saddling students from low income backgrounds with massive debt. The Government should be doing all it can to ensure this doesn’t happen but sadly the opposite will happen if they scrap the grants.”
Gordon, who last week joined forces with Blackpool Nurse, David Collett to oppose the removal of NHS Bursaries, said this was part of a series of “damaging” measures that would “hinder social mobility” and target those who “who want to work hard and better themselves in life”.
He commented: “This is just another disastrous change from an out of touch Government, who are damaging the aspirations of many people in Blackpool.”
The Government’s majority on the motion was cut to just 14 and Gordon said this showed “the strength and vigour” from Labour and NUS (National Union of Students) campaigners in opposing the plans to axe grants, and said they would continue put the pressure on the Tories in Parliament.