Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/373/6106
National union of students demo
No top-up fees
Scrap all tuition fees
THE NATIONAL Union of Students (NUS) has called a demonstration in Cardiff on 2 December, to protest against top-up fees. New Labour has decided that burdening students with fees of over £1,000 a year and getting rid of grants and replacing them with loans was not enough. This summer they finally passed the bill on top-up fees through parliament.
Sheila Caffrey, Swansea Socialist Students
This will allow individual universities in England to decide how much to charge. Although there is a cap of £3,000 a year, this will only stay in place for a few years. Many universities have already stated that they will be looking to eventually charging fees of up to £10,000 a year.
The Welsh Assembly have not yet decided whether to introduce top-up fees in Wales, and are due to vote on it early next year after receiving the results from the Rees Report.
This report has been commissioned to look into student funding, debt and hardship in Wales. Unfortunately, the board doing the report is made up of top-ranking professors and vice-chancellors who are very unlikely to have students' interests in mind when considering these proposals.
The vice-chancellor at Swansea University is on the board - he's only been at Swansea for a year and he's managed to axe five departments. He's said he wishes to introduce top-up fees.
The demonstration in Cardiff is a good place to kick-start an active campaign opposing top-up fees in Wales but it shouldn't stop there. We should have regular mass action, putting pressure on local Assembly Members, Members of Parliament as well as the Welsh Assembly.
This should also be followed with a national demonstration in London to show Westminster the campaign has not ended. Giving up in England allows the government to follow up with more and more drastic measures. If top-up fees are not defeated we'll see a society where only the elite can get an education, with working class and lower middle-class young people being pushed out into low-paid jobs.
Socialist Students demand:
- Restore a grant it is possible to live on.
- Oppose top-up fees and the 'graduation tax'.
- Free education for all, from cradle to grave.
- For a fair and democratic socialist society run for the needs of all, rather than on the whims of a few.
In The Socialist 4 December 2004:
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