Socialist Party
| Print

23 September 2008

Scrap tuition fees!

Labour threatens to lift 3,000 cap

Fight for a living grant!

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

"THE MAXIMUM annual fee paid by students will not rise above 3,000 (uprated annually for inflation) during the next Parliament... The choice for 2010 is forward with new Labour... or back with the Tories to an education system designed to look after the few but fail the many."

Neil Cafferky

So says Labour's 2005 election manifesto, pledging no lifting of the cap on university fees until 2010. The fact that the government will review the cap in 2009 with a view to increasing fees drastically by 2010 is a perfect example of Labour doublespeak. Their policies have delivered exactly what they said they would avoid; an education system designed to look after the few but fail the many.

New Labour will argue that more young people are entering university than under any other government and that fees are a fairer way of funding higher education rather than through general taxation. However, a closer look at the figures reveals that 100,000 students leave university in their first year. According to the National Audit Office, 22.4% of students in the UK in 2007 did not complete their courses, many for financial reasons.

The National Union of Students (NUS) estimates an average graduate debt of 25,000 in tuition fees and maintenance loans, rising to a massive 37,000 for those attending a 'leading university' in an expensive city.

University vice-chancellors are pushing hard for a rise in fees. So confident are they that Labour will grant their wishes that many universities are already budgeting for an increase in income from a lifting of the cap.

Students demonstrating in 2006, photo Dave Carr

Students demonstrating in 2006, photo Dave Carr

The fact that university fees and other student loans do not have to be paid until after a student has graduated is used by the government to present fees as a form of graduate tax. Ordinary tax payers should not have to subsidise graduates who will go on to better paid jobs thanks to their education, is the general line of argument of Labour. But recent events in the economy, particularly the mass sacking of recent graduates at Lehman Brothers at Canary Wharf, show that work for graduates will be highly uncertain.

Instead, the lifting of the cap will see students emerge from university, weighed down by a huge mountain of debt, into a labour market where jobs with decent pay are few and far between. According to the NUS, students taking some subjects - particularly arts - may end up with a degree that will bring absolutely no financial reward.

This is one of the reasons the Socialist Party and Socialist Students are opposed to all forms of fees in education. Entrance to universities, like schools and colleges, should be free. Moreover, all students should be entitled to claim a living grant.

The government and vice-chancellors say that the money is not available to achieve this. However when it comes to fighting imperialist wars, or investing money in Trident nuclear missiles (76 billion) or bailing out bankers in Northern Rock to the tune of 50 billion, it seems the world's fifth richest economy has plenty of money!

This Labour government is more interested in investing in weapons of mass destruction or bankers who have speculated wildly and enriched themselves, than in young people looking for a decent education.

Students can have no confidence that Labour, or any of the other main political parties will back away from raising fees, let alone abolishing them. Only the pressure of a combined movement of students and trade unions can achieve this.

To this end Socialist Students will be organising a day of action as part of our Campaign to Defeat Fees on 16 October. Get involved today, phone 020 8988 8761.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/6422




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle20 Jun Save our NHS

triangle20 Jun Rolls Royce: fight all job cuts!

triangle20 Jun Desperate divisions in Tories - Corbyn and unions must act

triangle20 Jun 1000 issues of the Socialist: A vital weapon standing in proud...

triangle13 Jun No to Trump and Tory racism

triangle13 Jun Civil service pay strike ballot: vote yes!

triangle13 Jun How can we fight for trade unions that fight for women?

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle21 Jun West London Socialist Party: Grenfell - still waiting for justice

triangle21 Jun Cardiff East Socialist Party: Reasons to protest against the Trump visit

triangle21 Jun Waltham Forest Socialist Party: All the questions you ever wanted to ask about socialism

triangle21 Jun East London Socialist Party: Is the far right rising?

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999