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Labour: Jeremy Corbyn never promised to cancel student debt

Labour: Jeremy Corbyn never promised to cancel student debt
2 min read

Jeremy Corbyn never promised to cancel student debt if he becomes Prime Minister, his spokesman has insisted.


The Labour leader told the NME that he would "deal with" the issue of student debt if he won last month's election.

Since then, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has insisted that wiping it out is an "ambition" for the party - prompting Tory claims of a U-turn.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May said: "At the election the leader of the opposition vowed to deal with student debt, Labour were going to abolish student debt, now they say it wasn't a promise at all. Students know Labour can't be trusted on student fees."

But Mr Corbyn's spokesman has rejected that accusation, and insisted there has been no climbdown.

He said: "He was saying he would look at how he would address the stock of student debt - reduce or ameliorate it - and obviously it was a matter of concern. Our commitment was to scrapping tuition fees. If you look at the NME interview, he didn't say scrap or abolish (student debt)."

In the interview, the Labour leader said: "There is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I'm looking at ways that we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing that debt burden.

"I don't see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it."

Appearing on the BBC's Daily Politics, Shadow Equalities Minister Sarah Champion said she did not think cancelling student debt "is going to be possible"

She said: "How do you square it with people that have already paid off their debt for example? What I do think, though, is we can’t change the past and I don’t think the Treasury would ever allow us to roll back on something."

Conservative MP Amanda Milling MP said: "Yet another member of Jeremy Corbyn’s top team backtracks on Labour’s promise on student debt – betraying many of the young people who voted for them.

"Labour offered the world to voters but they simply cannot keep their promises – it’s time Jeremy Corbyn stood up and admitted his irresponsible plans for unlimited spending would leave future generations paying the price."

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