'Free tuition for all named Grant'

May 25, 2001

THES reporters scrutinise the minority party manifestos

Socialist Alliance

"Students and staff have suffered under the Tories and Labour, which imposed tuition fees and ended free higher education."


  • Abolish tuition fees and student loans. Call for free education and a living grant for all further and higher education students, funded from taxation on the high paid and on big business, which wants skilled workers and gets them on the cheap
  • All people should be entitled to free education and training
  • The return to local democratic control of education at all levels.

Scottish National Party


"The graduate endowment is just tuition fees paid at the end."


  • Axe the endowment scheme.


"Student poverty is multifaceted, and far too many students are required to work above and beyond what is healthy or conducive to their studies."

  • Pledge to improve Scottish student grants "as resources allow"
  • SNP's Westminster MPs will lobby for students to have access to state benefits.

Staff pay

"Pay levels are an impediment to (promoting) the knowledge economy."

  • Commitment to reviewing this for staff in Scottish higher education institutions.

Plaid Cymru

"Higher education's contribution to the life and economy of Wales has been enormous."


  • Press for the Welsh Assembly to have full powers for higher education
  • Raise the level of funding for higher education
  • Implement the Bett recommendations on pay.

Student finances

"Labour's decision to charge tuition fees and to abolish maintenance grants has caused serious hardship, and has been an obstacle to access to higher education."


  • Abolish tuition fees
  • Reintroduce means-tested maintenance grants
  • Support for further education and training.

Northern Ireland Alliance Party

"We believe that students should have equal access to funding across the UK, whatever their socioeconomic background."


  • Support the Association of University Teachers' call for an independent inquiry into the impact of different funding schemes
  • Continue to press for tuition fees to be axed in the province, and tax varying powers for the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Develop stronger links between higher education in Northern Ireland, the mainland and the Republic of Ireland
  • Encourage private investment in research and development
  • Cooperation between further education colleges and universities to help widen access through foundation courses
  • An increase in virtual and distance learning.

Ulster Unionist Party

"While Northern Ireland probably should not divorce itself from the research assessment exercise, it could usefully introduce an element of research funding for strategic and regional needs."


  • Support anything that promotes fruitful links between higher education and business
  • Support the Association of University Teachers' campaign to raise the level of funding for higher education and restore the real and relative level of staff pay
  • Support current proposals to make the Quality Assurance Agency less onerous
  • Support Northern Ireland's universities in retaining or attaining world-class excellence
  • Further education should not be the Cinderella service.

Green Party

Student finance

"Rising levels of student debt deter older people and those from poorer backgrounds from going to university."


  • Abolish university tuition fees
  • Restore maintenance grants based on the student's income
  • Lifelong learning "should be encouraged both formally and informally"
  • Increase funding for the arts.


"Experiments on animals are cruel and intrinsically unreliable as a guide to human biology."


  • University research projects would be screened against publicly agreed ethical criteria
  • End animal experiments and develop non-animal methods for medical research within next five years.

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Student finance


  • Free university tuition for all students named Grant.

  Election 2001 index page

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