The Labour Party has vowed to scrap university tuition fees ‘once and for all’ if they win the upcoming general election.
During a speech in Mansfield, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that education was “not a commodity to be bought and sold”.
“We want to introduce – just as the Atlee government with Nye Bevan introduced the National Health Service – we want to introduce a national education service,” said McDonnell, reports The Independent. “Free at the point of need throughout life. And that means ending the cuts in the schools at primary and secondary level. It means free childcare. It means free school training when you need it throughout life.
“And yes it means scrapping tuition fees once and for all so we don’t burden our kids with debt for the future.”
While the party are to reveal whether or not the move will be part of their manifesto, many are speculating as to whether or not the funding will come from Labour’s plan to raise an extra £20billion by increasing corporation tax from 19-26% by 2021-22.
This morning, I have been in Leeds for our Education policy launch. Labour would reverse Conservative tax breaks for big business and instead spend the money on a new National Education Service for young and old, an education from the cradle to the grave. There is a clear choice at this election. Conservatives have spent seven years starving schools of funding, meaning headteachers are having to send begging letters to parents to ask for money. Labour will halt cuts to school budgets, reduce class sizes, provide free school meals for primary school children, restore education maintenance allowance, bring back student grants and scrap fees on courses for adult learners looking to re-skill. Labour will transform education for the many not the few.
Posted by Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday, May 10, 2017
While the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are yet to reveal their manifestos or policies regarding university funding, the latter party largely fell from grace when the Lib Dems promised to scrap tuition fees before the coalition government saw them triple in size in 2012.
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.