Shabana Mahmood MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Higher Education, responding to the news that UCAS applications for 2012 have continued to fall and UK applications for this year are down 15.1% on the same period in 2010, said:
“These latest figures show that David Cameron’s decision to treble tuition fees is continuing to put people off applying to university. It is unfair that many who have the ability to go to university are being deterred because of the high levels of debt that they will face. It’s a short-sighted policy which will do Britain’s economy long term harm.
“Applications are down by over 20,000 amongst the under-25s – shocking proof that David Cameron’s decisions are deterring young people from fulfilling their promise.
“It is not only the youngest people being hit - we are also seeing a 20 per cent drop in applicants aged between 25 and 39, showing that the Tories’ chaotic and unfair policy to treble tuition fees is putting off those who are already in the workforce from investing in their skills and developing their careers.
“Labour would reverse the corporation tax cut for banks and use the money to help cut fees to a maximum of £6,000. That is the difference between Labour, which makes investing in skills and knowledge a priority, and an out of touch Tory-led Government that will restrict opportunity and damage the future of our economy.
“The unfair, unnecessary and unsustainable decision to treble tuition fees to £9,000 - while cutting university funding by 80 per cent - is putting many young people off university and threatening economic growth for this country and skills for the future.”