Theresa May pledges to freeze tuition fees as Tories seek to win back young voters

Posted On: 
1st October 2017

Tuition fees are to be frozen as the Conservatives try to win back young voters from Labour.

Theresa May is trying to win back younger voters with a conference pledge on student finance
Credit: 
PA

In a major announcement at the start of the Tory conference in Manchester, Theresa May said the charges will now remain at £9,250 a year.

The level at which graduates begin to pay back their tuition fees is also set to rise to £25,000 as the Tories attempt to deal with concerns over the cost of student finance. 

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The Government is also pledging to look again at the interest rates on student loans, which will go up to 6.1% from this autumn.

"We know that the cost of higher education is a worry, which is why we are pledging to help students with an immediate freeze in maximum fee levels and by increasing the amount graduates can earn before they start paying their fees back," the Prime Minister said.

But Labour, who have promised to scrap tuition fees altogether, said the announcement proved the Conservatives were "yesterday's party".

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: "The fact Theresa May thinks she can win over young people by pledging to freeze tuition fees only weeks after increasing them to £9,250 shows just how out of touch she is.

"Another commission to look at tuition fees is a desperate attempt by the Tories to kick the issue into the long grass because they have no plans for young people and no ideas for our country. They are yesterday's party.

HELP TO BUY

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond has also announced an extra £10bn to the Help to Buy scheme, with the aim of getting another 135,000 people on the housing ladder.

"Young people are worried that life will be harder for them than it was for their parents - owning a home is a key part of that," the Chancellor said.

"This government understands that for many people finding a deposit is still a very big hurdle."

But Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: "This is yet another policy from the Tories that will only help the few, not the many. 

"Britain is suffering from a housing crisis, with home ownership at a 30-year low and 900,000 fewer under 45s now owning a home since 2010.

"Young people held back by a broken housing market don't need Theresa May's gimmicks but the mass building programme of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy that Labour put forward in our manifesto."