TUSC’s manifesto calls clearly for “student grants not fees” and, if elected, our representatives would use their positions to help organise campaigns and actions to help make that demand a reality.
The fact that the Labour Party hopes that students and their families will be content with a pledge to reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year shows how far removed they are from the pressures facing most young people.
They, and all the main parties, have abandoned the idea of free education. Of course, it was a Labour government who first brought in tuition fees for higher education in the first place.
Reducing student fees by a third will still leave many students from working class backgrounds feeling that university is something that they cannot afford. For those students who do go on to higher education, then they will still leave with a mountain of debt to go with their degree certificate.
It also appears that the shortfall to universities from a cut in tuition fees would not be funded by the prospective Labour government. This will mean more cuts in courses and facilities. Students will still be paying huge fees for an underfunded university education.
Of course, students don’t just have to borrow to fund their tuition fees. Rents and other living costs continue to rise as well. That’s why TUSC also stands for the return of grants – a system that helped fund today’s MPs when they were at university but which they now wish to deny to a new generation of students.
All the main parties will say that TUSC’s demands are ‘unaffordable’. TUSC disagrees. We do not accept their ‘austerity’ agenda. We know that their is plenty of wealth in our society but that is in the hands of a tiny few who are using the ‘austerity’ agenda to steal back the gains of the past, like free education, from the rest of us.
TUSC candidates in, for example, Manchester include students standing as council candidates for TUSC to help campaign for our demand for “grants, not fees”. I would call on students who support what TUSC are saying to get in touch and help build TUSC’s campaign up to the General Election on May 7.