8 December 2010
The Green Party is emerging as the only one of the main UK-wide political parties which has consistently supported the abolition of tuition fees.
Earlier this week, Green Party Leader and Brighton Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas, co-sponsored an Early Day Motion (EDM 1130) with Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland, calling for the vote on raising tuition fees to be halted, noting that "the government has failed to convince many people that its proposals will be fair and sustainable" (1). She is co-sponsoring an amendment to the Government's Tuition Fees Motion to the same effect.
Scrapping EMA is "hugely destructive, and completely unnecessary", says party leader
The Green Party Leader, who will be speaking at the rally outside Parliament on Thursday, said:
"The government's plans to saddle young people with huge debts, and to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance which has been so successful in enabling more young people to stay on in education, are hugely destructive, and completely unnecessary.
"There are alternative ways to fund education, including a more progressive taxation system. For example, a business education tax levied on the top 4% of UK companies, as proposed by the University and Colleges Union (UCU)(2), would require business to pay its fair share for the substantial benefits it receives from higher education.
"Raising corporation tax to the G7 average would generate enough annually to abolish tuition fees, and increase UK investment in higher education to the average for other comparable countries, while leaving 96% of companies in the UK unaffected by the change, and still leaving the UK's main corporation tax below that of France, Japan and the US."
Caroline Lucas continued:
"The Green Party believes that education is absolutely vital for people to be able to participate fully in society, and as such, access to learning should be as democratic as possible, with no person made to feel excluded by prohibitively high costs."
Young Greens' concern over generation gap
Young Greens co-chair Sam Coates said:
"The amount of student debt this rise will bring, along with the lack of affordable housing and high youth unemployment, is driving the gap between our generation and previous ones even wider."
1. Research published by university think-tank million+ and London Economics suggests that the majority of students (60-65%) will be worse-off under the new proposals, and that social mobility and participation will also be adversely affected, "Fair, progressive and good value?", (30 November 2010), http://www.millionplus.ac.uk/file_download/184/Fair
2. "In place of fees: time for a Business Education Tax?" (10 March 2010), http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/2/3/inplaceoffees-betax_ucucompass_mar10.pdf