Edward Davey calls for the abolition
of tuition fees for students in Kingston
Local MP Edward Davey, has called on
the Government to scrap tuition fees for British students
studying in Kingston, in response to the recent news that
Scottish Lib Dems have been successful in removing up
front charges for a university education in Scotland.
The package approved by the Scottish Cabinet created a
new anomaly within UK higher education - with students
from England, Wales and Northern Ireland paying fees for
courses at Scottish universities, while Scots and
students from the rest of the EU pay none.
Speaking at the Commons in response to the news, Edward
Democrat colleagues north of the border have delivered
one of the best student support packages in Europe. Apart
from the abolition of tuition fees for those in higher
education, they have also delivered the re-introduction
of Bursaries of up to £8000 for the poorest to cover
student living costs."
"This level of support is in stark contrast to the
current situation in Kingston." "Many of the
local students I have spoken to admit it is a real
financial struggle to survive. An ever growing number
have to take on part-time and sometimes full time jobs
just to pay the bills."
"There is no doubt that this is having an adverse
effect on their studies and more and more students are
dropping out citing financial hardship as the
"The Government must begin to recognise that a
growing number of talented students in Kingston and
throughout the country will be forced to pack in their
courses. They are a very important part of our country's
future wealth generators and to ignore this fact is the
worst form of short sightedness imaginable."
"I hope the Government will now follow the Liberal
Democrats lead and scraps tuition fees for students in
Kingston and the rest of the UK."
The National Union of Students said
English students in Scottish universities would now be
"second class citizens" and predicted that the
fees paid throughout the rest of the UK would rebound on
the Government at the next General Election: "Voters
in the rest of the UK have not yet had a chance to vote
in a General Election called since fees were imposed. But
they shortly will."
Facts on the Scottish proposals:
- Tuition Fees for Scottish Students
at Scottish Universities are abolished from Sept
- A new bursary (grants) scheme will
be introduced in Sept 2001, paid for by Graduate
- Grants of up to £2000 per annum
will be available for around 30% of students
depending on parental income. Bursaries will
taper but will be paid to student up to £23,000
of parental income. 30% of students will get
- The Graduate Contribution will be
£2000 payable after Graduation. It will be
introduced in 2001.
- Mature students will not pay the
Graduate Contribution. Nor will HND/HNC students,
lone parents or disabled students.
- 50% of HE students will be exempt
from the Graduate Contribution
- The Contribution is added to the
Student Loan, but no student will have higher
- The Scottish Executive will
continue to try to bypass EU law to pay fees in
- Fees will be abolished for Further
At Westminster, senior Government
sources strove to play down the scale of the anomaly.
Education Secretary David Blunkett made no comment on the
deal struck by political colleagues north of the border.
A spokesman for the Tory Party said its policy on student
support remained under review.