Tuition fees ‘aren’t a priority’ for students, says Lib Dem MP candidate for Sheffield

It’s ok, only got £50k debt


The Liberal Democrat candidate hoping to be Sheffield's next MP has said tuition fees are "not a priority" for students.

Laura Gordon claims the 60,000 students that populate the city are "much more concerned about the climate and Brexit" than paying £9,250 a year for a degree.

She is in the running for the Lib Dems to succeed ex-Labour MP Jared O'Mara in the Sheffield Hallam seat for the upcoming general election.

In 2017, the Lib Dems won over 34.6 per cent of voters in the constituency, where most Sheffield students live, behind Labour at 38.4 per cent.

Asked by VICE about whether former Sheffield MP Nick Clegg's rollback on his tuition fee pledge is proving damaging for her effort, Gordon said: "It's not coming up.

"People are much more concerned about the climate and about Brexit than they are about tuition fees. It's worth bearing in mind that today's students were 11 when tuition fees came in. It's not a priority for them."

Students at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University are expected to be the deciding factor for the seat on 12 December.

The Tab's poll of 2,000 students found that 40 per cent say they will vote Labour, 23 per cent Lib Dems, and 22 per cent Tory.

Labour are pledging to scrap all tuition fees, and the Tories have reportedly rolled back on their plans to slash fees to £7,500 a year.

One third year Uni of Sheffield student told The Sheffield Tab: "Abandoning tuition fees won't help much for my £50,000 debt, but it's definitely still a crucial issue for me because I don't want other students to be charged the same as me."

But Gordon stood firm, telling The Sheffield Tab: "Today's students are worried about Brexit, affordable housing and the climate emergency. These are the primary issues that will determine their future."

The Lib Dem bid got a boost on Tuesday when the Women's Equality Party said they are standing down in the city to back Gordon.

O'Mara's ex-manager Gareth Arnold, who hacked his boss' Twitter account in the summer to publicly resign, announced earlier this month he was running against Gordon for MP, but has since stood down.