Labour’s Dawn Butler defends tuition fee cut
Labour’s initiative to reduce tuition fees might not be sufficient for university students. Sonal Gupta reports
Labour has said it will reduce the tuition fees for university students from £9, 000 to £6,000 should it win the May election. It will reduce average graduate debt by nearly £9,000. However, there have been on-going debates on the benefits of tuition fee reduction on the future students. According to the reports some students believe that the reduction is not completely sufficient to help them pursue higher education. Some also believe that 16 and 17 year olds are young and unaware to understand the significance of the policy.
Speaking to Westminster World prospective Parliamentary candidate for Labour in Brent Central, Dawn Butler says that the lack of media coverage given to the Party’s activities could be a possible reason behind the unawareness amongst students.
When are the students expected to pay back?
Butler, who was Labour MP for Brent South between 2005-2010, talks about when the students are expected to pay their debts. Labour challenges the main criticism that they are leaning towards the wealthy graduates. Labour MP clarifies that the party would raise the interest rate on loans for wealthier graduates.
Do not raise the tuition fees.
Butler explains how the Tories and the Lib Dems might have disappointed the students. Raising the tuition fees to £9,000 might discourage many young students from pursuing education. She talks about how raising tuition fee will have a negative impact on the students.
Could we have free education?
On being questioned if the Labour could introduce free education like that in Scotland, Butler wishes the government could go back to the “old days” of free education in the entire UK. But she says the current state of the economy would not support a system for free education at university level.
Lib Dem versus Labour
Around 2010, Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats apologised to the public for not being able to scrap tuition fees. This led to protest by angry students accusing him of ‘conning’ voters. As per recent reports, Lib Dem Business Secretary, Vince Cable has called Labour’s tuition fees plan as “fraudulent”. The PPC for Brent Central, hit backs with a response to the Liberal Democrats. She talks about how Lib Dems have “betrayed” the community and students with their failure on the tuition fees. It is just “politics at its worse”.
She is “flabbergasted” with the Lib Dem for not supporting Labour’s tuition fee policy. “A while back the Lib Dem were not just in favour of reducing the tuition fees but eradicating the tuition fees. And now they wish to increase the tuition fees. It is disastrous for public finance.”
Implication on wealthy pensioners
The Labour tuition fee policy has been criticised for being “bad for the taxpayers, bad for the universities and bad for the British economy, by Chancellor George Osborne ”. Butler, believes that tuition fee policy will help to invest in young people and better future. The pledge is “fully costed”. “The reduction will be paid by restricting pension tax reliefs and by ensuring that the higher earning graduates will pay a little bit more. The wealthy pensioners will not feel much of a difference because they still will be able to pay in million pounds into their pension.”
While the Labour continues to support the young voters, the success of the pledge on tuition fee reduction is yet to be seen.
Photo credits: Dawn Butler