Jeremy Corbyn: New students will have tuition fee debts cancelled from this year
Students starting at university this autumn would have their tuition fee debt cancelled if Labour wins the election, Jeremy Corbyn has announced.
The Labour leader has laid out the details of his party’s proposal to scrap the fees, with the legislation to be fast-tracked to ensure free tuition is established by the time the 2018 intake starts.
In order to avoid incentivising people to defer their entry into university until then, a Labour government would commit to wiping out the first-year tuition fee debt incurred by those enrolling this year.
Under Labour’s plans students part way through their courses would not pay tuition fees for the years from 2018 onwards.
The party estimates that, with the fees due to rise to £9,250, its policy would reduce student debt by £38bn over the course of the parliament.
Mr Corbyn said: “The Conservatives have held students back for too long, saddling them with debt that blights the start of their working lives. Labour will lift this cloud of debt and make education free for all as part of our plan for a richer Britain for the many not the few.
“We will scrap tuition fees and ensure universities have the resources they need to continue to provide a world-class education.
“Students will benefit from having more money in their pockets, and we will all benefit from the engineers, doctors, teachers and scientists that our universities produce.”
Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, said Labour was “restoring the principle that education is free”.
“No one should be put off from getting an education through a lack of money or fear of debt,” she said.
“The Tories trebled tuition fees and students now rack up an average £45,000 debt. A Labour Government will stop that. If students sitting their A levels now want a say on their future they need to register to vote before tonight’s deadline and vote Labour on 8 June.”
The Conservatives responded to Mr Corbyn’s announcements by stressing the importance of the upcoming process of leaving the European Union to young people’s futures.
“Everything: our finances, our economic security, our standing in the world, is underpinned by those negotiations,” a spokesman said.
“There are now more students from disadvantaged backgrounds getting into university than ever before. But if Jeremy Corbyn is in charge of our Brexit negotiations, all of this will be under threat. Theresa May only needs to lose 6 seats and we will have a hung Parliament – which will deliver Corbyn as Prime Minister and grave risk to the future of our country.
“If you want a Prime Minister with a plan for Brexit and the ability to deliver for Britain then there is only one choice on 8 June: Theresa May and her Conservative team.”