Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/319/9721
Stop Fees Now!
Despite mass opposition, New Labour are trying to introduce top-up fees.
Blair's own pre-1997 election campaign words of 'Education, Education, Education!' have turned into 'Tuition fees, No grant, Top-up Fees and Privatisation!'
This has meant the creation of a two-tier higher education system. Already the "elite" universities are lining up to charge the full £3,000 fees. This will mean the rich can pay for a well-funded education system at an elite institution while the rest will have to attend the remaining under-funded universities.
When tuition fees we re introduced, seeing tens of thousands of students threatened with expulsion because they could not afford to pay, Socialist Students organised a campaign to defend non-payers of fees and to unite those who can't pay with those who won't pay on principle - so that non-payers will not be isolated and victimised, but also a step towards making the anti-fees campaign stronger and to force the government to scrap these now uncollectable and unworkable fees.
As a result of this, other campaigns, and the fact that the figure of unpaid fees by unorganised students reach millions of pounds each year, the government is now proposing to scrap upfront fees and introduce ones through the back door - a graduation tax - from 2006 on.
Although this in itself is a victory to the student movement, it however means that most students will be graduating to pay an extra 9% in tax, on top of the standard taxation all workers have to pay, and on top of the student loans debts of up to £20,000.
The grant of maximum £1,000 given to students whose parents earn annually less than £10,000 is a joke considering that most students have to pay for rising privatised accommodation rents, expensive books and a high living cost in general.
Free quality higher education is a right for all. The student movement needs to step up action against all attacks on education. One demonstration a year is not enough. Socialist Students encourages all students to be on the national demonstration against fees, called by NUS, to show to the whole of Britain that students are not apathetic, not spending all their time in bars but are fighting back against attacks on their rights.
At the same time, this event will be the first step to building the movement and to putting pressure on the NUS to build a mass movement to scrap all fees, for a restoration of a living grant and for decent public spending in to our institutions.
Stop Fees Now!
Called by National Union of Students
Sunday 26 October 2003
Route Start: Malet Street, London
March to Trafalgar Square
Tel: 020 8988 8761
Socialist Students Meeting
'What Next to Beat Fees?'
Fund Education Not War and Occupation!
Starting Time 3-3.30pm
AT the Clarence Pub, on White Hall, off Trafalgar Square.
In The Socialist 18 October 2003:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
War and occupation
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis