Sunday, 17 October 2010

Kicking away the ladder of opportunity


Last week, Lord Browne published his review of student funding. True to form, the Liberal Democrats promptly dumped their promise to oppose increases in tuition fees.

As Fiona Edwards, secretary of the Free Education Campaign, explains in an article published in Saturday’s Morning Star:

"Politicians who benefited from a free university education are now planning to kick away the ladder of opportunity for generations to come... The plans represent a double assault on students - tuition fees are set to more than double to £7,000 per year and commercial interest rates will be introduced on student loans."

These plans are not only unfair to students from less well-off backgrounds; they are also damaging to the future of our economy; and Fiona’s article sets out how investment in education is the “key to economic revival”.

Opposition to this attack on higher education is growing. And I am glad to see that support for the Liberal Democrats is falling the more they betray their promises. The latest poll from YouGov puts them on 11% - down from the 23% who voted for them in the general election. They are the weak point of this rotten coalition, and Liberal Democrat MPs need to be held accountable for the promises they made. 

There will be more discussion of this at the Progressive Students conference, taking place this Saturday, October 23, at Birkbeck College, London. Speakers include Ken Livingstone, Diane Abbott, Kate Hudson, Billy Hayes and myself. For further details visit www.progressivestudents.co.uk