Sarah Teather used her maiden speech on 27 November 2003 to pledge her opposition to all top-up and tuition fees. She even claimed that fees were a particular issue for the Muslim community. She said:
“Top-up and tuition fees are serious issues of concern to my constituents. All the evidence suggests that fear of debt will deter those from lower income families and ethnic minority communities. This is particularly the case for Muslims – a large community in my constituency – whose attitudes to debt are very different. Fundamentally, I believe that this is about whether we want to encourage a world class education system, or a class based education system where students choose universities according to their ability to pay, and universities are judged on the level of their fees”.
(Sarah Teather, 27 November 2003)
“There is no question mark over the policy of the Lib Dems on tuition fees. There is no question about my personal commitment to that policy. The only question is when we can afford to scrap tuition fees”
(Nick Clegg, 12 November 2009)
“The Liberal Democrats are the only major party to have a clear plan to abolish Labour’s tuition fees”
(Nick Clegg, speaking in Oxford, 28 April 2010)
“We will scrap unfair university tuition fees so everyone has the chance to get a degree, regardless of their parents’ income”.
(Liberal Democrat Manifesto for the 2010 General Election).
Now in Government, the Lib Dems will raise tuition fees to unprecedented levels consigning a generation of young people to a lifetime of debt.