Scrap All Tuition Fees

ANOTHER FORM of tax – tuition fees – was debated in Parliament this week. Over 100 New Labour MPs either abstained or voted for a motion to abandon proposals for top-up fees.

Even they have to sometimes reflect the anger that exists outside Parliament. After all, they want to hold on to their seats. New Labour’s 2001 manifesto said: “We will not introduce top-up fees and have legislated to prevent them”.

If New Labour get their way, universities will be able to increase tuition fees to £3,000 from 2006. And where will it end? In an interview with the Financial Times, the outgoing vice-chancellor of Cambridge University said that fees should be raised to £6,000 to cope with the financial problems that UK universities have at the moment.

Antonio Valiente, a student at the University of Glamorgan, told the socialist: “Why should we, the students have to pay for it? A lot of students have problems paying their fees. The student loans aren’t working and a lot of young people decide not to go to university to avoid the debts students accumulate.

“The vice-chancellor referred to universities as a business and said that charging £6,000 a year was the only way to make the business work. In my opinion, quality higher education should not be a business for rich people but a public service that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, should be able to enjoy.”