Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to ‘deal with’ the debt of students who have already graduated university during the period in which they paid £9,000 per year.
A key part of the Labour manifesto, the party had already vowed to scrap university tuition fees ‘once and for all‘ – before then bringing forward their plan for students starting university in 2017. Now, speaking to NME for this week’s cover interview, Corbyn has said that he will work to reduce existing student debt if they win the upcoming general election.
“First of all, we want to get rid of student fees altogether,” Corbyn told NME. “We’ll do it as soon as we get in, and we’ll then introduce legislation to ensure that any student going from the 2017-18 academic year will not pay fees. They will pay them, but we’ll rebate them when we’ve got the legislation through – that’s fundamentally the principle behind it. Yes, there is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I’m looking at ways that we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing that debt burden.”
The Labour Party leader added that the specific details of his plan had not yet been worked out due to the rush of the snap election, but that the pledge was a priority and they were dedicated to seeing it through.
“I don’t have the simple answer for it at this stage – I don’t think anybody would expect me to, because this election was called unexpectedly; we had two weeks to prepare all of this – but I’m very well aware of that problem,” said Corbyn. “And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.”
Check back at NME.com for more of our interview with Jeremy Corbyn.
Earlier this year, a study Student Loan Calculator revealed that annual tuition fees in England are higher than anywhere else in the world – around £1,600 more per annum than the US.
At the moment, tuition fees are as much as £9,250 per year at English universities.
With the polls narrowing, June 8’s result is looking increasingly up in the air. NME’s ‘plus one’ campaign wants you to take a mate to the polls. We know you’re a great person and you’ve already registered. But next Thursday, make sure your mates are up to speed.
The general election will be held on June 8, 2017.