Sunday, 20 September 2009

Clegg backs top up fees

Looking at what's happening at Lib Dem conference it seems the Green Party is now the only party to oppose university top up fees. Nick Clegg claims that because of the need to make 'savage' public spending cuts (which I am unconvinced of) it is 'dishonest' to claim we can get rid of them, claiming it would cost £2bn a year. Although Charles Kennedy claimed it would only cost £700m, even if the larger figure is accurate we could easily find the money by cutting real waste (not frontline services) from areas like Trident and ID cards.
I can't work out why the cost would have climbed so quickly though!
There is an excellent post on this done by a fellow Green up in Scotland.

By closing tax loop holes and reclaiming some of that £20bn a year lost to corporate tax dodging, abolishing fees and the restoring of statutory grants is only a small part of what we can do towards creating a more equal society.

The Lib Dems in Cardiff Bay tried to make political capital out of their opposition to fees when Plaid shamelessly voted against their own policy and supported Labour's introduction of the charge in Wales. It will be interesting to see how they react to this weekend's developments.

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear, seems you got things a bit mixed up here.

    Lib Dems are still the only major party to oppose tuition fees. The rumours that we had scrapped them came from Party Conference in Bournemouth, when Clegg at a member's rally said:

    "I believe tuition fees are wrong, I believe they need to be abolished, I want to do it as soon as possible. But, we need to treat people like grown ups, and we need to be realistic. Ending tuition fees would cost billions of pounds every year. We need to be certain we can afford it before we make any promises. But I can make this pledge – at the next election we will have the best, most progressive package for students of any mainstream party."

    However Lib Dem policy does not begin and end with Clegg. It is the Federal Policy Committee that decides Lib Dem policy, and then it is voted in my members. Clegg is only part of this policy-making process.

    I think you should back us on this issue as we are only party currently in Westminster who oppose fees, and stop trying to make cheap political gain out of hearsay to diddle students into sleepwalking into the polling station and voting Green in the election when there is already a bigger, better party who already represents them in Westminster.