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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 September 2003

How to beat top-up fees

OVER 100 MPs have signed 'early-day' motions opposing top-up fees. The bill to introduce top-up fees, to be published later this year, will face difficulties passing through parliament.

Zena Awad

The MPs on the education select committee reject ministers' plans to let universities charge fees of up to 3,000 a year. However the MPs, led by Labour chairman Barry Sheerman, back the idea that low-interest rates on student loans should be scrapped and claim that the money raised by charging full interest could be used to provide higher grants to the poorest students.

Although we welcome higher grants for poorer students, we campaign against putting students in debt. At the moment one in six students drops out due to financial difficulties and many of those still in higher education are in low-paid casual jobs and will leave university with debts of over 15,000.

Even though 'rebellious' MPs will make it harder for Blairites to attack higher education without having to 'sex up' their plans to convince parliament, it is the opposition of the student movement standing together for 'Free Education and Full Grants for All' which will scrap fees and loans, and force the reintroduction of the full grant for all students.

Socialist Students and the Socialist Party put forward the only strategy to defeat fees once and for all - through organising a national campaign of mass non-payment of fees backed up with mass direct action to defend those not paying from expulsion.

This will not only force Blairites to scrap fees but will also show these 'rebellious' MPs what a students' rebellion could potentially mean.

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In The Socialist 6 September 2003:

Teach Blair A Lesson Build a new workers' party

Blair's head still spinning

Fight low pay, job cuts and privatisation in Royal Mail

Death and destruction in Iraq

Stop SATs: Unions must take action

How to beat top-up fees

Asylum seekers: Blunkett's harsh policies ignore reality

Daggers drawn in the BNP

Understanding Marxism - a guide to action

Will new IVF proposals end the postcode lottery?

London blackout: Chaos shows up failure to invest

TUC conference: Opportunities for the Left

Civil service union challenges New Labour's pension pans

Are the unions on a collision course with Blair and the bosses?

Royal Mail's spin doctor

Strike action on the increase

Israel/Palestine: Ceasefire collapses as Sharon targets Palestinian leaders

Italy - a 'hot autumn' awaits Berlusconi

Build a movement against the occupation of Iraq

Iraq: Can the occupation be stopped?


 

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