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Diane Pledge Over Student Fees

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16 Nov 2009

MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Diane Abbott MP today signed a pledge to voters ahead of the forthcoming general election that she will vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament.

Diane signed the pledge at a National Union of Students (NUS) event in Westminster last week. Hundreds of students from across the country, including representatives from east London universities, descended on Parliament to argue for a fair alternative to fees which will not price out poorer students.

Last week the Government announced the start of the long-awaited review of university funding, which will look at the impact of 2004’s introduction of £3,000 ‘top-up fees’ and will report after the next general election.

Wednesday’s NUS pledge reads:

“We will vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament, and we will put pressure on the Government to introduce a fairer alternative to variable top-up fees”

Speaking in support of the campaign Diane said:

“There are thousands of young people every year who cannot afford their university fees. We need a fairer system that allows these young people equal access to higher education and we need a system that will not burden students with crippling debt for the rest of their lives.

Any rise in fees is likely to put off or prevent many young people in my constituency from going to university. I will not stand by and let that happen.”

NUS President Wes Streeting said:

“I am delighted that Diane Abbott has stood up for students and young people in Hackney North and Stoke Newington by signing this pledge. She has demonstrated her determination to give every young person in Hackney a fair chance to go to university.

NUS believes that a university education should be free at the point of use, with graduates giving back to the system according to how much they earn. This would give universities double the amount of funding they currently receive, while allowing the children of poorer families to go to university without the fear of debt. It would also prevent the emergence of a market in higher education, where only the rich could afford to attend our most prestigious universities.”

On Sunday, a YouGov poll commissioned by pressure group Compass revealed that only 12% of the public think the review should even consider increasing fees, while a majority believes that it should look at alternatives to fees.


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