Uxbridge College student Jessica Puplett (19) with Labour's Ken Livingstone and (far left) Dr Onkar Sahota the party's London Assembly Candidate for Ealing and Hillingdon and Assembly Member Val Shawcross.Ken Livingstone’s team promised they would look into creating a policy of subsidised travel for students, following a question raised by Uxbridge College student Jessica Puplett, age 19.Jessica, who is studying Ken-Livingstone-and-Jessica

Uxbridge College student Jessica Puplett (19) with Labour's Ken Livingstone and (far left) Dr Onkar Sahota the party's London Assembly Candidate for Ealing and Hillingdon and Assembly Member Val Shawcross.
Ken Livingstone’s team promised they would look into creating a policy of subsidised travel for students, following a question raised by Uxbridge College student Jessica Puplett, age 19.

Jessica, who is studying A Level subjects, spoke up during a question and answer session at the College on 16 May.  She told the Labour party’s candidate for the Mayor of London that following the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) many students were struggling to afford to get to college.

Jessica said: “With the abolition of the EMA Allowance, many students may not be able to afford to get to college because it costs so much to travel in London – do you have any policies about making travelling around London cheaper for students?”

Former London Mayor Mr Livingstone replied: “I think we should look at that”, and asked other students in the room if they had this problem.  Many spoke and nodded in agreement.

Val Shawcross, Mr Livingstone’s running mate, said: “It’s totally counter-productive they are cutting the EMA. We’re interested in promoting the economy and looking at how people in London have good skills.  We’re interested in doing what we can to broaden people’s access to training and employment.”

Other questions by students were on subjects including reform of the NHS, the environment, the planned high speed rail link HS2, UK intervention in Libya and taxing bankers’ salaries.  A total of around 50 politics students and staff took part in the Q&A session.

Uxbridge College was included in Mr Livingstone’s visit to a number of Hillingdon venues as part of his ‘Tell Ken’ tour of each of the 32 London boroughs, in advance of the London Mayoral elections in 2012.  Mr Livingstone says he aims to use the tour to find out more about Londoners’ concerns to shape the content of his manifesto.

Julian Thomas, Government and Politics Lecturer at Uxbridge College, said: “I’m really proud of our students, they came up with some great questions – I reckon the next Jeremy Paxman could be among them, or even the next Prime Minister!!  We arrange regular visits by a mix of politicians for our students - we have also had Vince Cable from the Liberal Democrats, and are currently waiting for an answer to our invitation to the Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson.”

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