Rise up against fee rises – why the new fee increases are worse than 2010’s
July 29, 2016
In 2010 the Coalition Government of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats raised tuition fees from £3000 a year to £9000 a year. This was the first time that fees had been raised since 1997, when the Labour government introduced fees for the very first time in England and Wales. This increase was met with a huge reaction which led to massive protests on the streets of London. However, this hasn’t been the only rise in tuition fees since the coming of successive Conservative governments.
It was announced on the last day of Parliament that tuitions fees will be allowed to rise to £9,250 per year as of 2017. Despite this being a relatively small rise compared to the 2010 rise, it has a more significant effect upon the overall landscape of fees and sets a precedent for the future.
Casting our minds back to 2010, the fee rise did have an economic argument behind it. This was mainly that no rises for 13 years previously had led to a black hole the government was funding and with the ‘need for austerity’ the funding should be covered by the student as opposed to government money. This was George Osborne’s argument when it was passed in parliament and is still the one believed by those who supported the rise.
Now, comparing it to the current rise, there has been no argument put forward by the Chancellor, Higher Education Secretary (Jo Johnson, the seemingly normal brother of Boris) or even the new Prime Minister Theresa May. What happened is that the legislation snuck through parliament unnoticed by a majority of people and was then announced on the last day when a majority of journalists had gone on holiday and the PM was away smooth talking the EU in an attempt to pick up the best deal for the UK after Brexit.
This shows that the recent rise is nothing but a money grab by the current government. It doesn’t fall in line with inflation. it was allowed due to a loophole in the contracts we all signed in order for us to be able to go get our loans.
It also has set a precedent in allowing for the current system to be exploited and the fees to continually rise without a parliamentary debate or even consultation. We have no certainty on what our fees will be and even when the rises will stop. The only thing is for certain is that this will not be the end of the issue.
I ask that if you want to fight this you not only join me and many other students in fighting the current government via protests that will no doubt be happening in Autumn with the help of the SU, but also consider joining various societies that will also be battling the rise, such as the Free Education Soc, Young Greens and UEA Labour in order to get your voice heard and get the change that is so desperately needed in our Higher Education system.