Theresa May just did a massive U-Turn on tuition fees and tried to call it a 'freeze'

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Sunday 01 October 2017 14:00
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Picture:(Hannah McKay/REUTERS)

Theresa May's government announced a fee rise in July 2016, and are now calling their decision not to do it, a 'freeze'.

As the Conservative Party conference kicked off in Manchester it was revealed Theresa May was going to unveil some policies designed to attract younger voters away from the 'Pied Piper of Highbury', Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn's Labour Party went into the general election promising to abolish all tuition fees, and then got embroiled in an argument over whether or not Corbyn had promised to get rid of existing student debt.

Post election surveys have suggested that young people overwhelmingly tended to support Labour over the Conservative Party.

To counter this, Theresa May will reportedly use the Conservative Party conference to announce a series of policy decisions designed to woo young voters, including pledges about university tuition fees, the Help-to-Buy scheme for housing, a ban on letting fees, and incentives for landlords to offer longer tenancies.

On the matter of tuition fees, the Tories will announce a 'freeze' in fees at the current level of £9,250.

So, they are deciding not to go ahead with their own plan for an increase.

In July 2016, seven days after Theresa May was appointed Prime Minister, the government announced plans to increase tuition fees for students in England.

Jo Johnson, the Universities Minister, published a written statement that set out plans for tuition fees in England to rise £250 per year from 2017 onwards.

Increases, according to the government's paper, were to be linked to evidence of high quality teaching.

The 2.8 per cent rise set out in the statement meant that fees would be £9,500 in 2018-19 for full time students. Sunday's announced 'freeze' means this will no longer be going ahead.

May's other tuition fee policies included raising the amount a graduate has to earn in order to start paying back the fees, and launching a review into wiping out remaining debt and the amount of interest current graduates are paying.

Calling this a 'freeze' and not a U-Turn has not gone unnoticed online.

Corbyn was almost among those pointing out the Conservative prime minister's record on tuition fees.

indy100 has contacted the Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy for comment.

More: The countries with the most expensive tuition fees

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