Tuition fees architect Andrew Adonis predicts end to university charges
One of the architects of the introduction of tuition fees has predicted both major political parties will support their abolition by the time of the next election.
Lord Adonis, who described himself as the “moving force” behind the increase in fees to £3,000 when he was an adviser to Tony Blair in 2003, blamed the leaders of higher education institutions for “forming a cartel” and charging as much as the Government would allow.
Labour went into the recent general election calling for tuition fees to be scrapped altogether, at a cost of more than £10bn to the public purse.
In a piece for The Times newspaper, Lord Adonis said he anticipated the Conservatives were likely to follow suit to capture the “growing resentment” among students and graduates.
He wrote: “Will the Tories, who have almost no political support among students and academics, go to the stake to defend £9,000 fees for universities? I doubt it. Maybe they will try a compromise of halving fees, but that will just guarantee them political pain without any gain.”
The crossbench peer also hit out at the Coalition Government for hiking the maximum fee level to £9,000 per year.
But his strongest criticism was reserved for the “greed and complacency of vice-chancellors who thought they were a licence to print money”.
Highlighting the massive salaries of some university vice-chancellors, Lord Adonis said ministers had been wrong not to “intervene to break the cartel and curb these excesses”.
“VCs need to start planning for real austerity. The flow of money from £9,000 fees will soon dry up. They could set an example and halve their salaries,” he suggested.