Yesterday Parliament voted on proposals to treble tuition fees for students - making them the highest of any public university system in the industrialised world. I voted against the Government because their plans are not necessary, not fair, and not good for higher education.
Such high fees are not necessary. They are going up so much because the Government has chosen to cut funding for university teaching by 80% - when other public services are being cut much less.
These high fees are not fair because graduates will now have to pay much more over a longer period with middle income earners hit hardest. Graduates will be forced to pay the whole cost of most degrees (to replace the cut in funding), instead of sharing the costs with the state. As a result, graduates will pay much more overall, and pay back for up to 30 years.
A rise in fees is also bad for higher education. This country's world class university system has been built on public investment and trust in the professional academic leadership of universities. Under the Government’s proposals, this would be replaced by a market in higher education in which many students will be put off university and forced to choose the cheapest course rather than the one which is best for them.
I will not support taking away opportunities for people from the Rother Valley to get a degree; this is why I voted against the Government.