Monday, 6 December 2010

Ed Milliband urges MPs to vote against Tuition fees

In a statement from the Labour Party in London, new leader Ed Milliband said " Next Thursday, MPs will vote on the Government's plans to treble Tuition Fees.

I hope that as many MPs as possible will vote against these unnecessary, unfair plans. They are cutting money for university teaching by 80%, much more than other services, and are making graduates pay the whole cost of most degrees. Students will be forced to choose the cheapest course, not what’s best for them - and will be paying back debts for 30 years. The plans are bad for universities and not the road we should be going down. The Labour Party will be voting again the plans. Labour would avoid the big cuts in the university teaching grants and share the costs of higher education fairly."

Bridgwater Labour Party Youth & Student officer Brian Smedley said "With the date of the tuition fees vote now known, Labour will campaign more than ever to oppose them. Bridgwater Labour Party is committed to working with Trades Unions , students and all community groups who are willing to fight back against ALL these ConDem cutbacks."

The Government’s plans are not necessary, not fair, and not good for higher education.

Not necessary because the short-term need for deficit reduction does not justify a long term change in Higher Education funding which will be bad for universities and not save any public money. The Coalition have chosen to cut higher education teaching by 80% when other public services are being cut much less.

Not fair because graduates will now have to pay the whole cost of most degrees (simply replacing the cut in funding), instead of sharing the costs with the taxpayer. Graduates will pay much more, and pay for 30 years. Middle income graduates will be hardest hit.

Not good for higher education. England’s world class university system has been built on a public investment and trust in the professional academic leadership of universities. This will be replaced by a market in higher education in which many students will be put off university and forced to choose the cheapest rather than the best course.

Labour says:

  • We would not make such a big cut in Higher Education teaching grants, so high fees would not be needed to replace lost income.
  • Graduates should share the cost of higher education; by moving towards a graduate tax the highest earning graduates would make a fairer contribution
  • We believe that universities should remain public institutions, receiving significant public funding

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