Students gear up for mass rally against axed EMA grants

THOUSANDS of students are expected to take to the streets today to protest against the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance grant.

The axing of the grant, paid to teenagers from the poorest families, could lead to 70 per cent of those receiving it dropping out of school or college, according to new research.

Students are set to lobby MPs ahead of a crunch Commons vote urging the Coalition to rethink the �560m cost-saving programme.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas and Barking MP Margaret Hodge are expected to back the Labour motion against the abolition of the �30 weekly grants.

EMAs were scrapped last year but some students are to carry on receiving the grants until July.

The largest protest is expected to begin at Piccadilly Circus at 5pm. Police are hopeful the march will not descend into violence.

A Met spokesman said today: “We have had a useful dialogue with the organisers, the National Union of Students, and are aware they will hold a lobby in the House of Commons.

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“An appropriate and proportionate policing plan is in place, which is flexible and can adapt to whatever unfolds on the ground.”