The Guardian is reporting that there is a drop of more than 6% in student applications to Universities with less than a month to go before the deadline for 2013 applications – LINK.
The tuition fee rise is a huge issue that is continually raised to me on the doorstep in Dudden Hill. It’s sad that less people are willing to go to University because of the long term life time debt that people will incur.
While cutting Brent’s budget by £104 million, reducing the Brent Police budget by 20%, spending money on top down reorganisation of the NHS, trebling tuition fees, scrapping EMA and much more, the Liberal Democrats have reached a new hypercritical low in Brent. They have distributed an attack leaflet on the Labour Party in Dollis Hill Ward which asks the question, “who can you trust to stop the cuts?” All this while Lib Dem Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central is a Minister in the Tory Liberal Coalition Government and is responsible for not only cutting too far too fast, but disproportionately harming and damaging our community in Brent with front-loaded cuts and more cuts to us compared to other Boroughs and areas in the country.
On the inside of the leaflet….
Using red text, no mention of any Lib Dem candidate or the MP Sarah Teather and nowhere in the leaflet is it admitted that it is from the Brent Liberal Democrats apart from in very small text, size 6 (or perhaps even size 4!!!!), where it says Printed by xxx (address in Brent) Published and Promoted by R Wharton on behalf of A Hopkins (Liberal Democrat) both at xxx (address in Brent). In an additional twist, the address provided is the address of none other than leader of the Brent Council Liberal Democrats Cllr Paul Lorber.
This sort of campaigning, which if anything is more likely to turn people away from the ballot box altogether rather than using persuasive, genuine arguments to inspire people to support your party is something we are used to from the Liberal Democrats in Brent. The politics of hatred and negative campaigning is very much embedded into their ethos here.
An article on the BBC website has revealed that initial figures show that “University applications for 2012 are running at 9% below last year’s level.”
Even more concerning, is that “when overseas applications are taken out, the figures show a 12% drop in applications from UK students.”
I sincerely hope that it is being monitored what our young people are doing instead of going to University, given the huge intake drop. If people are not going to University because of choice, we cannot fail the next generation by not providing quality further education and training opportunities and support to make sure they are well equipped and have the skills necessary to enter the labour market.
Meanwhile, the One Show on BBC1, broadcasted on Monday 24th October (video only available for a limited time) revealed that when interest payments are taken into account, people who take out the maximum loan amount could find themselves paying £75,000 in debt.
Another survey has revealed that 10% will be put off going to University because of the new fees system that will start from next year onwards.
More controversy with the Tory Liberals and Universities reported in the Guardian here – LINK
So, this is what the Tory Liberals are discussing and here is what it could mean:
At the moment person A – is from a lower income family. A has to get the right grades and go through a rigorous selection process to gain a place at a top University.
Person B – is from a rich family but quite rightly has to get the right grades first. The less financially fortunate person A has to fight for his or her place, whereas person B has a rich mummy and daddy so can bypass the process that ordinary people have to go through to get a place at University.
My head tells me that they’ve been forced into looking at this because Universities have had their funding cut by 80% by the Coalition Government. Undoubtedly this must be having immediate and medium term budget pressures on Universities as the new fees system in the future will mean that it could be a number of years before Universities start getting money from student fees leaving a huge gap that will need to be filled in funding.
At the same time as fees going up, Universities have had their funding slashed by 80 per cent. When the Lib Dems and Tories raised the cap on tuition fees, they said that £9,000 per year fees would be the exception and that they expected Universities to charge around the £6,000 a year mark.
Instead, raising the cap limit and removing a big chunk of funding away from our prized institutions at the same time, has left Universities with little choice but to charge higher fees.
I don’t think this will go away as an issue for a long while. I was out knocking on doors in Dudden Hill on Saturday as well as in Kenton Ward on Sunday, campaigning for Ellie Southwood’s by-election campaign.
Many parents with children and even grandparents who were concerned about their grandchildren were devastated at the Government’s decision and intention to treble fees for young people. The Lib Dem and Tory argument that it is not an upfront cost and that it’s something that they have to spend after they are working is not washing off.
Parents are aggrieved and rightly so that their children are being encouraged by the Government to take on such larger levels of debt.
Under 27s can now join the Labour Party for 1p. The offer lasts until May, but it will be the best penny you will ever spend. It’s hard being a young person in Brent today. I left University with a debt well into 5 figures. Now that I am working, I get money directly taken away from my salary and given to the Student Loans Company. Take it from my own experience. It’s hard.
Under Lib Dem and Tory plans which will treble tuition fees, an even bigger chunk will be taken away from people’s wages which will affect the life decisions that people make. It could determine where people can realistically afford to live. What goods they want to buy. What they can afford for their new born children. For that reason, I think it’s wrong what the Coalition Government are doing to young people in Britain today.
You can make a difference by becoming actively involved in politics and joining a Party that has treated me as a young person in Britain today well. I have always felt welcome in the Brent Labour Party and I hope to stand by and support other young people who wish to join me and take up the offer of becoming a Labour Party member for 1p. Click here to join
… and it’s never been a more better time for young people to join the Labour Party in Brent. We have recently set up Brent Young Labour which serves to be the young wing of the Party in Brent. It gives young people the opportunity to have a meaningful collective voice within the Party as well as to interact with eachother and build confidence to reach their aspirations in life.
When fees were first introduced through the Teaching and Higher Education Bill in 1998, then MP for Brent East, Ken Livingstone voted against his own Government. In 2004, to Sarah Teather’s credit she voted against the introduction of variable fees which raised University tuition fees in effect to around £3,000 a year with then Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy deeply opposing the increase in fees. This time around, former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy who Sarah Teather instigated the ousting of, voted against his own Party and therefore against increasing the fee cap to £9,000 a year. Teather on the other hand sided with Nick Clegg and David Cameron.
As a member of a Government that was introducing this legislation, Sarah Teather had been silent on this issue and evidently avoiding public confrontation on how she vote. Given her track record on this issue, and the fact that she used her maiden speech in Parliament to highlight the point of student debt, I was hopeful that maybe her silence prior to the vote was because she was going to side with young people and vote against this unfair measure. Maybe she had listened to the protesters outside her constituency office. But no, in the end the roar of the ministerial car was louder than the voices of young people in Brent.