Reject ‘unlimited fees’, restore free state education

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LORD BROWNE’S Review was published yesterday, recommending unlimited tuition fees for university, with ‘the market’ setting the level.

The coalition’s Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary, the Lib Dem ‘economics guru’ Cable, has made it clear that the government will accept Browne’s findings and begin to implement them this year.

Under the recommendations, students will also have to pay back the massive debts that they will rack up at variable rates of interest, according to how much they earn, if and when they start work.

The threshold at which students must pay off their debts is also set to be raised, from a starting salary of £15,000 a year to £21,000 a year.

This means that the only way students would be able to avoid astronomical costs when they graduate, would be to work as permanent cheap labourers for the rest of their lives, negating the whole point of getting the university degree in the first place.

The result of ‘the market’ setting tuition fees will be that fees will sky-rocket and dozens of universities will be driven to the wall, forced to shut completely, with the vast masses of working-class and middle-class youth simply shut out of higher education in future.

It is also unlikely that the coalition will continue to allow students to pay off all their debts after graduation – up-front fees, or at least a portion of the fees up-front, are surely set to return.

The only people who will benefit from Browne’s review when it is implemented by the government will be the sons and daughters of the very, very rich.

As it is, many young people are being forced out of university because the current ‘cap’ of £3,290 a year is simply too much for many ordinary young people.

This is in addition to the soaring costs of accommodation, food and study materials.

Yesterday’s Browne review was rightly described as ‘the final nail in the coffin’ for affordable higher education.

But thousands and millions of young people are not about to lie down and let the nail be driven through them!

Youth, their parents, teachers and millions of workers are set to fight these plans, which even surpass the kind of costs that American students face.

A ‘market’ means paying fees of anything from £7,000 to £30,000 a year for a course, according to the ‘demand’!

In fact, some specialist courses could be charging more than £30,000. Perhaps £50,000 a year, or £100,000 a year, who knows!

Many courses will close, universities who can’t ‘attract’ students will shut as the government encourages institutions to cut each other’s throats in order to cut government spending even further.

The fact that the government can contemplate such a move is an indictment of the Labour Party and trade union leaders, and the leaders of the National Union of Students.

The Labour governments of Blair and Brown were the first to impose tuition fees in 1997, starting at £1,000 a year plus inflation, then trebling them after avoiding a narrow defeat in parliament.

The trade union leaders, whilst opposing the fees in words, did nothing to mobilise the working class to smash them.

We urge all our readers to immediately support the Young Socialists and their national march from Manchester to London starting on October 30 to defend free education, abolish fees, fight youth unemployment and go forwards to socialism.

The march is to mobilise youth and rally the working class for a general strike to bring this coalition down and go forwards to a workers government.

Join the Workers Revolutionary Party and the Young Socialists, come on the march, sponsor it, join in and build a fighting leadership to defeat fees!