Corbyn and Rayner pledge to scrap tuition fees and write off this year’s cash
YOUNGSTERS at university during the next parliament will have a £38 billion debt burden lifted off their shoulders under a Labour government.
Leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner will announce Labour’s plan today, under which 400,000 undergraduates will benefit.
Tuition fees will be abolished altogether from 2018 under Labour and, in a new commitment, the party says it will scrap the first year of fees for those enrolling this September and students part-way through degrees will not have to pay fees for the remainder of their courses.
Ms Rayner has urged students who want a say on their future to register to vote before tonight’s deadline.
University fees in England — tuition is already free for EU students in Scottish universities — have trebled to more than £9,000 since 2012.
Now students are graduating with an average debt of £45,000 when maintenance loans are factored in.
Labour says that scrapping fees would cost £9.5bn — paid for by increasing income tax for the top 5 per cent of earners and reversing the Tory cuts to corporation tax.
Its plans for a new national education service — along the lines of the National Health Service — will also restore maintenance grants and scrap college fees for adult learners.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Conservatives have held students back for too long, saddling them with debt that blights the start of their working lives.
“ Labour will lift this cloud of debt and make educ at ion free for all as part of our plan for a richer Britain for the many, not the few.”
Mr Corbyn added that scrapping fees and funding universities would see society “benefit from the engineers, doctors, teachers and scientists that our universities produce.”
And Ms Rayner said: “Everyone should have the chance to further their studies, not just those that can afford it, and we will restore the principle that education is free.
“No one should be put off from getting an education through a lack of money or fear of debt.”