Thursday, 14 October 2010

Former Lib Dem Leaders Will Vote Against Rise in Tuition Fees

Two former leaders of the Liberal Democrats have come out in opposition to the Browne Reports call to raise the cap on tuition fees and have said they will vote against it. Charles Kennedy Rector of Glasgow University and Sir Menzies Campbell chancellor of St. Andrews University.

"The Browne report is big and important and there is a lot in it that needs to be studied and still a lot to be discussed and debated.

"But as rector of Glasgow University, I will be standing by the NUS pledge I made on tuition fees before the general election."

The proposals could have a knock-on effect in Scotland because they could reduce finance from Westminster through the Scottish grant.

This would leave institutions north of the border facing competition from better-funded English ones and Scottish students would face the same fees regime if they followed a degree course south of the border.

Ming BBC Radio 4's World at One yesterday:

"Not only did I sign a pledge, I was photographed doing it.

"My credibility would be shot to pieces if I did anything other than stick to the promise I made.

"As for others, they must make their own judgment depending on their own circumstances."

Lord Browne’s review recommended abolishing the existing £3,290 cap on tuition fees. This would allow universities to charge as much as £14,000 a year.

The move should be accompanied with a real rate of interest on student loans, a higher threshold for loan repayments and a more generous system of grants, he said. Thus penalising twice with the extra per annum and higher repayment rates.

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