Plaid call on MPs to protect students across the UK

Abstaining in Thursday’s vote on tuition fees should not be an option for LibDems MPs Plaid’s Jonathan Edwards MP has said today.
Mr Edwards said that if MPs sit on their hands during the crucial vote which determines the future of tuition fees, it will simply help ensure that Universities are able to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year from 2012, a near trebling of the current rate.

Mr Edwards compared the actions of the ConDem government in Westminster to the priorities of the Plaid-driven Welsh government which has decided to stand up for students. Plaid believes that higher education is something that should be based on an individual’s academic ability and not their ability to pay.

Plaid Cymru MPs will be voting against the Westminster government’s proposal to allow tuition fees to be hiked up to £9000 a year. The Tory and Liberal Democrat proposals will not only leave students in English universities facing severe debts but will have a direct impact on the future of higher education in Wales because of the 80% cuts being made to the Higher Education teaching grant in England have a Barnett consequential.

Mr Edwards said:

“Abstaining is simply not an option as it will let the vote go through. Abstention is as good as voting in favour on this vote.

“This is crunch time for Libdems now – will they continue to pin their colours to the Tory mast or respect the electors who put their faith in them?

“LibDems at all levels of their party have u-turned themselves into a tizzy over this. Unfortunately this is just yet another of a long line of broken promises – from scrapping Trident to refusing to sort out the funding formula which leaves Wales the poorest of all the nations in the UK. This has been a totemic issue for their party over the years, a literal signature policy at the last Westminster election.

“Students will be facing a lifetime of debt all because the Lib Dems prioritised appeasing the Tories above their own principles.

“They will ask themselves not only if they can afford £9000 a year for fees, but if they can afford to ever have a Lib Dem or a Tory representing them.

“Contrast this with the Plaid-driven Welsh government which sent out a very clear message by deciding to stand up for students.

“I would urge all MPs to follow suit and protect our students.

“If enough Members of Parliament have the courage of their convictions and vote against this unfair
decision then this can be defeated.

“However, the Lib Dems must keep to their pledge if this is to happen.”

ENDS / DIWEDD

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