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Saturday, 2 May 2015

Labour challenges Cameron & Clegg over tuition fees

Labour has tonight  issued a fresh challenge over tuition fees as new figures suggest that they will rise again under government plans, to £11,500 a year – a move both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have repeatedly refused to rule out. Ed Miliband said David Cameron and Nick Clegg had helped “erode trust” in all political leaders because of their broken promises over tuition fees and immigration. It came as new analysis showed that:
  • the scale of the extreme cuts currently planned by government would leave a £1.5 billion shortfall in the higher education budget by 2018-19;
  • to maintain funding levels, universities would need to increase tuition fees by another £2,500, increasing debts for both students and taxpayers.

By contrast, Labour has pledged to cut tuition fees to £6,000 a year from September 2016 if the party is elected and tomorrow (Sunday) Labour’s election pledges have been carved into stone. The party has commissioned an eight-foot-high stone, inscribed with their 2015 manifesto pledges, which is being unveiled.

Laying down the challenge, Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Nick Clegg and David Cameron have helped erode trust in all political leaders by the way they broke promises on issues like tuition fees and immigration after the last election. If I am Prime Minister I will keep our stone in a place where we can see it every day as a reminder of our duty to keep Labour’s promises.

Mr Miliband went on to say: "On Thursday the British people can elect a Labour government that will cut, not raise tuition fees. We will build a strong economic foundation, raise living standards, control immigration, invest in the NHS to give it the time to care, ensure the next generation can do better than the last, with homes to build and action on rent. We will put working families first."

Challenging young people to judge the Lib Dems on their record of trebling tuition fees, Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary will unveil a poster that will tour universities across London. The hard-hitting poster carries a simple message: “Nick Clegg trebled tuition fees. He broke his promise. Don’t let him do it again. You can’t trust a word the Lib Dems say.”

Chuka Umunna, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said: "The Lib Dems must come clean over their plans to raise tuition fees. You can’t trust a word they say. They broke their promise and backed the Tories all the way to treble tuition fees once, and they have refused to rule out doing so again. Revealing their true colours, the Lib Dems have attacked Labour’s plan for a cut in fees to £6,000. Having saddled students with soaring debts, the Lib Dems are now adding yet more worry and uncertainty with the threat of threaten further future fee rises.

"We already know the Tories’ extreme plans could lead to a hike in fees. Now we must know clearly and plainly whether the Lib Dems would back such a move." Chuka Umunna added.