Opinion Former Article

UNITE: Crippling fees will deny UK skilled workers

Commenting on today's Commons vote which is set to see graduate fees rise to £9000 per year, while ushering in damaging cuts of 80 percent in the teaching grant and 40 percent in higher education funding, Unite general secretary-elect Len McCluskey said:

"This vote today speaks volumes about the character of this government. They are pushing through insane levels of cuts to the higher education budget while forcing young people to make up the shortfall by undertaking crippling levels of personal debt. Incoherence and inequality are fast becoming the hallmarks of the coalition.

"Nick Clegg is right on one thing about his government's proposals: they are 'scary'. The prospect of starting your working life nearly £30,000 in debt will terrify countless kids from ordinary homes, deterring them from realising their potential. That is not only a criminal waste of their talents , but it deprives society too. Where will the teachers, nurses, social workers and engineers of tomorrow come from if we plunge a generation of university graduates into debt?

"This policy will hold back growth, stagnate the economy, place a lifetime of worry about insolvency on graduates long after Nick Clegg and David Cameron have moved off to the cosy benches of the House of Lords.

"There is a common sense alternative , which is to rebalance higher education financing along the lines of the Dearing Report in the 1990s which argued for a shared responsibility between students and the public purse.

"It is also high time that employers, who continually demand higher qualifications and degrees, shouldered their share of the cost of student fees and education."

ENDS

For further information please contact Pauline Doyle on 07976 832 861

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