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Clegg shamed for tuition fees treachery as students take to the streets

Deputy PM receives parliamentary mauling for education betrayal

Nick Clegg was shamed in Parliament yesterday for his tuition fees treachery as thousands of students he sold out prepared to march for free education.

Labour MPs shouted: "Say sorry" as the Deputy Prime Minister struggled to excuse his support for a funding system slammed as unsustainable by experts in a new report.

The independent Higher Education Commission (HEC) said yesterday that £9,000-a-year fees represented the "worst of both worlds" for student and taxpayers.

"Students feel like they are paying substantially more for their higher education but are set to have a large proportion of their debt written off by the government," said the report launched in Parliament.

"We have created a system where everybody feels like they are getting a bad deal. This is not sustainable."

The damning verdict of the nine-month inquiry came on the eve of the biggest student protest since Mr Clegg and most of his Lib Dem MPs helped the Tories triple tuition fees in 2010.

Organisers are hoping 10,000 people will take to London's streets today under the banner: "Free education - no fees, no cuts, no debt."

Students from as far away as Edinburgh will board coaches in the early hours to bolster a bumper turnout expected from London institutions.

"The students attending this demonstration are a new generation - one that was not involved in 2010, one for whom £9,000 fees are the norm," said National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts spokeswoman Hattie Craig.

Faced with fresh calls to apologise from the Labour benches, Mr Clegg rattled off statistics that said proved the system worked.

"You predicted fewer people would be going to university - there are more youngsters in full-time courses now than ever before," he told Mr Sheerman.

But Labour MP Barry Sheerman said the new HEC report showed "just how awful the situation" was for this crop of students.

The former Commons education committee chairman told MPs that most will "never pay back their loan or be able to get a mortgage because he deserted them, broke his pledge and voted for £9,000 fees."

Today's march will assemble at Malet Street, London WC1 at 12 noon and end at Parliament at around 4pm.


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