The Labour party promise to scrap tuition fees
Created on: 22nd May 2017
The Labour party have promised around 400,000 students that they will write off fees for the academic year 2017/18 at a cost to the taxpayer of £3 billion annually. The new policy is intended to include those students starting this Autumn.
The policy, which was not included in Labour’s manifesto, was seen as a last ditch attempt to win over younger voters as registration for the general election closed today. Some have criticised the new policy, stating that the figures just don't add up and Labour might not be able to deliver on its promise. Education secretary, Justine Greening commented on Labour's plans:
“Corbyn has promised that tuition fees will be abolished this year but he hasn’t banked the money. As ever, Corbyn’s figures don’t add up and his shadow cabinet can’t explain where the money would come from.”
The announcment from Labour comes as the deadline to vote approaches and as tuition fees are set to rise to £9250 a year in autumn. Labour's shadow education secretary Angela Rayner told BBC Breakfast that people coming out of university now face debts of up to £44,000 - a "gut-wrenching" sum which "hangs over them" for years to come.
She said that by getting the top earners to pay "just a little bit more", Labour can "stop our young people from going through that hell of having that much debt".
Labour said the cost of writing off student loans would come by increasing corporation tax and a tax rise for the top five per cent. However the Conservatives argue that if Labour won the election, they would not be legally able to raise corporation tax until next April, six months after students start their courses.
Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg spoke out about the recent scrapping of fees, stating that the new policy was the 'wrong choice' at the moment and does not know how Labour plans to follow it through.
There are lower levels of fees in Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland there are no tuition fees for Scottish students. There have been rows in Scotland, however, about the gap in access to university between rich and poor students.
Posted by Amanda Hopkins
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