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November 30, 2008 3:04 AM

South Heaton Liberal Democrat Focus Team has reacted with disappointment to news that the Labour Government has got it sums wrong on student numbers.

As a result, the Government has admitted it will have to scrap partial student grants to middle-income families.

An estimated 40,000 students will lose out on their grant entitlement.

The news is a further let down for students and families in South Heaton after Labour MP Nick Brown did a u-turn on opposing tuition fees on the grounds that grants would be reintroduced.

Councillor Greg Stone, Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East, says: "This is further proof that Nick Brown puts the interest of the Labour Government ahead of the interests of local people.

"This after his votes to close post offices and to introduce the 10p tax change which left thousands of local people worse off."

Meanwhile, the Government has been forced to admit that it has badly bungled the payment of the weekly Education Maintenance Allowance to hundreds of 16-18 students in Newcastle, following massive delays to payments nationwide.

Many 16-18 year old students say that they are at risk of dropping out of college or training because they can't afford to continue.