Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

John Denham MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, responding to the Government's announcement on student fees said:

“Our students will now face some of the most expensive, and the worst funded degrees in the public university sector in the industrialised world. And our universities will be plunged into turmoil and reorganisation when we need them to support economic growth.

“What we are seeing is universities facing a disproportionate share of the cuts and with the whole cost of degrees transferred into the debt of students.

“The Government has produced the worst of all possible worlds. Universities will need to charge fees of at least £7,500 just to avoid losing money, so those that can’t will be forced to cut quality and dumb-down. Most students will be paying off debts for 30 years.

“With some universities charging £9,000 more than others, many students will be forced to choose the cheapest course, not the one that is best for them.”

John Denham condemned the government for its ideological attack on Higher Education.

John Denham said:

“Higher Education funding should be a partnership between taxpayers and graduates - the taxpayer because the whole country benefits from good higher education; and graduates because they can expect to benefit. Today’s announcement shatters that deal.  

“We have the government forcing through its ideological and dogmatic withdrawal of public funding for universities while the country has been denied the sensible debate we need about the balance between public spending and graduate contributions.
“Our long-term goal is a graduate tax system because we think it is fairer when graduates pay in a way related to what they earn and can afford. The government has preferred a system which may still let the most well off lightly but which will make most graduates pay 9% a year of their relevant income without ever paying off their debt."

Labour will vote against a fee rise because it does not support the way the government is transferring the whole cost of degrees onto students in the form of debt.

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