A row broke out during a council meeting last Wednesday, after a Wandsworth Councillor dubbed the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) as "dole for kids."

Conservative Councillor Matthew Maxwell Scott made the comment during a discussion about Ken Livingstone's plans to re-introduce EMA to London if he became Mayor.

Coun Maxwell Scott described the grant as "dole for kids", provoking a furious response from opposition councillors.

Labour Councillor Leonie Cooper described Coun Scott's remarks as "insulting and ignorant".

She said: "I was quite shocked at his open sneering at EMA. For many ordinary families and teenagers EMA made all the difference, allowing them to buy books or travel to college.

"Removing it has damaged the life chances of many young people. To assume all those who received it were just claiming it and doing nothing is both insulting, and ignorant."

But Coun Maxwell Scott defended his views: "EMA creates dependency on the state at a young age.

"It was a glib remark. They should go out and find work in other areas to try and find pocket money that way - I went out and delivered the Wandsworth Guardian.

"I think if the opposition's ambition is to get young people dependent at this stage is sad."

He supported the new 16 to 19 bursary, aimed at helping youngsters living in care and disabled teenagers with further education.

EMA was introduced under Labour with funding of £30 a week available to youngsters living in households who earned £33,950 and under.

It was scrapped last year, with the 16 to 19 bursary introduced last September.