Letter: A political priority

January 12, 2001

Your editorial ("Still no room on the election manifestoes", THES, January 5) bemoans the likelihood that higher education will be relegated to the sidelines in the forthcoming election and states that the abolition of fees is too expensive for any party with realistic hopes of power to promise.

Higher education is a priority to the Liberal Democrats. Our role in the government of Scotland has already seen fees abolished and a student maintenance package restored. We have realistic hopes that our partnership agreement in the Welsh Assembly will lead to a similar outcome.

The cost of abolishing the student contribution to tuition fees is £285 million. This - and £325 million of additional investment for student support to be funded by an increase in direct taxation - is not only worthwhile, but necessary.

A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for the implementation of the Bett report, increased funding and more money to ensure that poor students can enter and stay in higher education.

Evan Harris MP
Liberal Democrat higher education spokesperson

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