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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 September 2017

Tories in retreat - kick them out

Fight tuition fees

Socialist Students marching for free education, 19.11.16, photo James Ivens

Socialist Students marching for free education, 19.11.16, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Ellen Kenyon Peers, Goldsmiths Socialist Students

News that Labour would win a parliamentary majority if a general election were held tomorrow has spurred on Tory chancellor Philip Hammond to produce a report recommending a £5,000 reduction in tuition fees over a three-year course.

This latest, embarrassing retreat by the Tories demonstrates how desperate they have become to maintain power.

But any reduction in fees will be welcomed by students and it's clear a big factor behind this is that the Tories fear a mass movement for free education.

The government has been under pressure on all fronts. Its justification for fees has been undermined, not least following the news of vast cash resources held by many universities.

The prohibitively expensive £9,250 a year maximum tuition fee has contributed to a drop in university applicants for the first time since fees were raised in 2012.

Inflation

The 6.1% interest rate for tuition fees disproportionately affects poorer students struggling to pay off the loan, as it rises with inflation. Better-off students who can repay it quickly gain the upper hand, even after entering the job market with the same qualification.

Students demonstrating in London, photo Isai Priya

Students demonstrating in London, photo Isai Priya   (Click to enlarge)

The interest rate includes an additional 3% on top of inflation which has never been fully explained by parliament.

This can add thousands to students' loan repayments once graduates have reached the relatively low £21,000 earnings threshold. All this while university vice-chancellors' pay averages over £270,000 a year.

Corbyn's left-leaning manifesto policies, including to immediately introduce free education, proved extremely popular with young people during the election, winning seats in former Tory strongholds like Canterbury.

But unfortunately since then Labour has refused to commit to cancelling student debt despite Jeremy Corbyn's hint during the election campaign that it would.

The Socialist Party and Socialist Students fight for abolishing tuition fees, cancelling student debt and a £10 an hour minimum wage to pave the way for a brighter future for young people.

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In The Socialist 20 September 2017:


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