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From: The Socialist issue 947, 3 May 2017: Socialist policies can beat the Tories

Search site for keywords: Jeremy Corbyn - School - Fees - Cuts - Students - Academies - Schools - University - Tuition Fees - Education - John McDonnell

Corbyn pledges end to uni fees and school cuts

Socialist Student poster, Nov 2016, photo JB

Socialist Student poster, Nov 2016, photo JB   (Click to enlarge)

We say

  • Introduce a living grant for university students
  • Scrap free schools, academies and grammars
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Party national youth and student organiser

What is your offer for the next generation? This is a question that should be front and centre in the debates that surround the upcoming general election.

After almost seven years in government, it is a question that has already been definitively answered by the Tories: school cuts, student debt, low pay and a housing crisis are among the features of their toxic legacy. But what about Jeremy Corbyn?

When John McDonnell used his speech at London's May Day rally to promise that, if Corbyn wins on 8 June, his government will abolish tuition fees, it drew rapturous applause. This was a policy that helped generate the huge enthusiasm that saw Jeremy catapulted into the position of leader in the first place.

But it is also a stand that has drawn derision and outright opposition from the pro-austerity, pro-fees rump that still dominates the Labour Party in parliament and local councils.

It is therefore very good that Corbyn and McDonnell have chosen to prioritise the interests of working class and young people over a futile attempt to appease the Blairites on this issue. That is the approach that they should continue to adopt.

As well as pledging free education, Corbyn has promised to reverse the 3 billion of school cuts that are in the pipeline. Again, this pledge will enthuse teachers, parents, school students, and all those with a stake in the education of future generations.

These positive promises are a big step forward and will go a long way towards answering what it is a Corbyn administration might have to offer young people. Now, he should go further.

Not only should Corbyn pledge an end to tuition fees, but the introduction of living grants to help ensure university is accessible to students of all backgrounds. Not only should he reverse the school cuts and introduce free primary school meals - but scrap free schools, academies and grammars, bringing them into a fully funded, high-quality comprehensive system.

If Corbyn approaches the coming weeks with audacity and fights this election on clear socialist policies, he can score a victory on 8 June and hugely advance the fight for a decent future for the 99%.

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