McMillan warns that Tory Graduate Tax is ‘Thin End of the Wedge’

The SNP has today warned that Ruth Davidson’s ‘graduate tax’ proposals would be just the “thin end of a very large wedge” as the Tory government announces plans to allow tuition fees to increase beyond £9,000 in England.

Tuition fees were first introduced in England in 1997 at just £1,000 per year – less than the amount proposed by Ruth Davidson for Scotland.  After repeated assurances that they would not rise any further, the then Labour Government increased them to £3,000 a year in 2003.  In 2010, after a LibDem pledge to scrap fees altogether, the Coalition Government increased them to £9,000.  The Tory UK government will now allow universities to charge more than £9,000 per year.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Greenock & Inverclyde, Stuart McMillan said:

“The latest Tory plans to hike tuition fees beyond £9,000 per year in England are a timely reminder of how all three London-based parties have betrayed students over the last two decades – and a warning that Ruth Davidson’s graduate tax is just the thin end of a very large wedge.

“While the Tory leader reassures students that her graduate tax will be capped at £1,500 per year, history reminds us that on tuition fees the UK parties’ words are wind.  Only the SNP remains resolutely opposed to tuition fees and has acted in government to scrap them altogether.

“And if we didn’t know it already, the Tory Government’s plans will attempt to make learning about profit, not opportunity, by allowing the creation of new ‘pop-up’ private universities.

“We will always ensure that access to university will be based on ability to learn not ability to pay – and unlike the Tories we are focussed on opening them up to people from a wider range of backgrounds, not to private profit.”

The UK Government’s plans are reported here: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/may/16/startup-universities-degree-awarding-powers-higher-education-white-paper

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