9 December 2010
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The Green Party this evening was calling on former Lib Dem supporters disillusioned by Nick Clegg’s tuition fees “betrayal” to join the Green Party.
The call came as anger mounted against Liberal Democrat politicians following their parliamentary vote for rises in university tuition fees, despite their pre-election pledge to oppose such increases.
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP said this evening:
“Nick Clegg has abandoned students today and has encouraged his fellow ministers to break the solemn promise they made to the electorate.
“Today is a bad day for democracy. Young people have been badly let down by politicians. I urge those who believe in free education to join the Green Party and not let coalition ideology punish the poorest in society.
“We want an education system based on academic ability, not financial status. Punishing the poorest in society for the failure of the banks and the economic crisis is not fair. The Government should be cracking down on those that avoid taxation, increasing income tax for the rich and closing the loopholes that allow large corporations avoid billions in tax."
"Government assault on our young people"
Caroline Lucas had said earlier, after the vote:
“This is a dark day for the future of higher education in this country. The huge hikes in tuition fees, together with the scrapping of Educational Maintenance Allowance and proposed cuts in college funding, amount to nothing less than a Government assault on our young people – and an attack on the principles of universal education. Many people may be priced out of going to university as a result of today’s vote – and those who do go are likely to be saddled with massive debt. This is unacceptable for a society which values social mobility and inclusiveness.”
Cllr Adam Pogonowski, a recent graduate who now represents the Green Party on Cambridge City Council, said:
“This is a shocking and depressing vote against universal free education. The Green Party is the only party that believes in fair and free education for all. The introduction of tuition fees and top-up fees by the Labour Party commenced the process that culminated in today’s appalling vote. The Labour Party too would have introduced such punitive fee measures, on the back of the Browne Review that they initiated. I urge all voters to vote for a party who will not break such fundamental promises with such flagrant disregard for those who elected them, in the local elections next May.”
Sam Coates, co-chair of the Young Greens (the youth wing of the Green Party) and a prospective candidate for next year's Welsh Assembly elections, commented this evening:
"Tory and Lib Dem ministers have patronised young people beyond belief, saying we don't understand the details and that the fees are in fact fair. But we do understand the plans, and they are not fair, they are going to devastate our generation and force scores of poorer students out of university coupled with the scrapping of EMA.
"They also say we don't understand the financial situation. But we say that free education is easily affordable if we make the super-wealthy and large companies pay their share, and the Government's proposals won't even save any money.
"Members of this Government are hacking away at benefits and services that they took for granted."
"Young people will not now give up, and we will continue to campaign against every assault on our generation."