Jeremy Corbyn, our lord and saviour: Labour will scrap tuition fees in time for September

If you’re new to uni, or heading back for third year, you ain’t paying a penny

Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn announced that the Labour party would pledge to abolish tuition fees by September. In short, if you’re going to uni for the first time this year you won’t pay any tuition fees. And if you’re going back to uni, you will stop paying tuition fees. Next year’s freshers and all current students. Everyone.

True to form, the shadow education secretary Angela Rayner used her appearance on the BBC’s Today programme this morning to confirm the promise. She said: “As of September, students going to university will not pay tuition fees. The most disadvantaged students … have this hanging over their heads for longer. If you’ve ever had a huge amount of debt hanging over your head, you know how that feels.”

The escalation of the pledge timetable comes as part of a move to combat students delaying enrolment so as to not have to pay for tuition. Rayner expanded: “We don’t want students to defer from this year.” Although, it’s also worth noting that the announcement coincides with the closing of electoral registration, and some 2.4m young people remain unregistered to vote.

The shadow education secretary said Labour have costed the policy at £9.5bn annually, or £11.2bn including maintenance grants. Funds for this would come from an increased top rate of tax on those earning more than £80,000. She said: “We believe that’s a small price to pay for ensuring young people are not saddled with £45,000 in debt.”

A full costing is available, for this policy and all others, in the Labour party’s manifesto. You can read the Tories’ one here, although they’ve neglected to include their sums.

Nick Clegg, who followed Queen Angela on the Today show, didn’t think Labour could afford the promise. Stating, in all his wisdom, that Labour introduced the fees in the first place.

The NUS welcomed the news, drawing attention to their Double Jeopardy report, which highlights that 47 per cent of graduates move back in with their parents and 60 per cent still had non-student consumer debt leftover from their degree. The average amount being £2,600.

NUS President Malia Bouattia said: “Young people and students up and down the country will welcome this announcement from the Labour Party. This policy goes a long way to improving opportunities for young people. It also offers them a powerful incentive to register for, and use, their vote on 8th June.

 “Students have been made promises on tuition fees at the ballot box before. If elected, we will hold the Labour Party accountable for its promises.”

The £9k club

The announcement comes as Labour closed the gap in the polls to single digits – their best numbers this year. It’s looking more likely that the 2012-7 intake could become the unluckiest group of university entrants our fair island has ever known.

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