Labour must scrap student fees and restore grants

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn has today pledged that if elected leader he would commit Labour to restoring maintenance grants and scrapping university fees.

His new student finance package came on the same day that he announced his student, youth and young trade unionists co-ordinator. Shelly Asquith, who was recently elected Vice President of the National Union of Students, will head his student campaigning.

Corbyn – who has won the support of Labour affiliate the Socialist Education Association – will consult members and supporters on two fully costed options for paying for these measures.

He argues that education is a collective good which should be paid for collectively.

Jeremy Corbyn MP said: “Today I am setting out a bold plan for how a Labour government in 2020 can abolish tuition fees and restore maintenance grants. Education is not about personal advancement but is a collective good that benefits our society and our economy.

“I want to apologise on behalf of the Labour Party to the last generation of students for the imposition of fees, top-up fees and the replacement of grants with loans by previous Labour governments. I opposed those changes at the time – as did many others – and now we have an opportunity to change course.

“There are no student fees in Scotland, Germany and twelve other European countries, I want to bring all UK students into line with that sensible approach.”

He added: “It is inspiring to see a new generation of people making a change. I’m proud that so many young people and students have got involved in my campaign and that Shelly has agreed to lead this work”

Jeremy is putting forward two options for 2020 and is inviting supporters to express their opinions on them:

  1. Income tax receipts are due to increase by £15 billion between 2019/20 and 2020/21. We should use two-thirds of that to reduce student debt – by scrapping fees and restoring grants – and use the remaining one-third to reduce the national debt.
  2. Introducing a 7% rate of national insurance on higher earners to fund scrapping fees; and increasing corporation tax to 20.5% to fund maintenance grants.