Labour have unveiled their latest election pledge which includes a clear, fully-funded commitment to cut tuition fees to £6,000, whilst increasing student maintenance grants by £400.
The Government’s £9,000 tuition fee system has proved costly for graduates, loading them up with an average of £44,000 debt each. But it is also disastrous for the public finances and the taxpayer, adding £281bn to the national debt over the next 15 years.
Under Labour, higher education reform would be swift; with the proposed changes being implemented by September 2016.
The changes will be funded by reducing tax relief for people on very high incomes paying into pension schemes, capping the total amount eligible for tax relief in a lifetime at £1m and limiting the annual sum eligible for tax relief at £30,000. Labour will also require the highest-earning graduates to pay a slightly higher rate of interest – four rather than three per cent.
Dawn Butler, Labour candidate for Brent Central, said: “Young people in Brent tell me they feel betrayed by the Lib Dems who promised to vote against any increase to tuition fees, then increased them to an unaffordable £9,000.”
She continued: “Labour’s plans will reduce the tuition fee cap and increase student maintenance grants, benefitting thousands of school children in Brent in the coming years. Not only that, but taxpayer’s will benefit too, as the plan will reduce the national debt by more than £10 billion over the next parliament and £40 billion over the next 15 years.”
Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, criticised the Government for betraying the Promise of Britain: “Unlike Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems we will not make promises we cannot keep. We will pay for it in a fair way by limiting the tax breaks which go to the richest in society.”