Students deserve a fair deal

IN the last few days I have received hundreds of emails from people worried about the hike in tuition fees and to confirm that I will be voting against plans to increase tuition fees when it came to a vote in Parliament.

As a state school student, I was privileged enough to be able to attend university and had this financed by the government.

I believe young people, whatever their background, should be able to go to university. I believe the proposals by this government, and broken promises by Liberal Democrats, are unacceptable.

The increase in fees is the result of the Coalition government drastically cutting funding to universities, especially in teaching. In Leeds the cuts are in the region of 50 per cent, if not more.

The government is now transferring that funding burden onto students. This is not fair and it is not inevitable.

I have spoken with staff in the higher education sector, including the Vice Chancellors at Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University, and there are anxieties that these fee increases will decrease the number of students from families on modest and middle incomes attending university. This means that many 18-year-olds will miss out on the education that they deserve.

More time is needed for MPs to debate the issues, including proposals for a graduate tax that would be a fairer way of funding Higher Education in the future.

Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West

If students knew anything about politics, they would be protesting outside Labour Party HQ. It was they who spent the education cash, nearly doubling the bill between 2000 and 2007 to 71 billion a year, while school performances in maths, reading and science dropped.

Much of this was on PFIs (private finance initiatives), which two generations will have to pay back.

J Fentiman, Harehills, Leeds

This week many students who voted LibDem in the last election will realise their vote was bought with an empty promise. They are rightly angry and the LibDems deserve all the ridicule they are getting, but the policy of pricing the working class out of education is a classic divisive Tory policy and the students should reserve some of their anger for the Tories too.

Stephen Clark, Bawn Approach, Leeds

YEP Letters: March 20