SNP to back lower tuition fees in England

The Scottish National Party has pledged to support Labour’s proposed reduction of tuition fees in England to £6,000.

April 20, 2015

Source: The Scottish Government

In the SNP manifesto, launched by leader Nicola Sturgeon on 20 April, the party said it would “guarantee the continuation of free university education in Scotland and support the reduction of tuition fees across the UK”.

The SNP is predicted to make major gains in the general election and could hold the balance of power after 7 May.

The pledge makes it more likely that a Labour government could lower fees, even if it does not hold a majority.

Speaking at the manifesto launch, Ms Sturgeon said that, in the event of a minority-led House of Commons, the SNP would seek to “advance progressive policies that will benefit people in all parts of the UK”.

“If the SNP emerges from this election in a position of influence, we will exercise that influence responsibly and constructively,” Ms Sturgeon said. “And we will exercise it in the interests of people, not just in Scotland but across the UK.”

Since Ed Miliband has pledged to make up the shortfall for universities by restricting tax relief on pension contributions for the highest earners and clamping down on tax avoidance, Labour’s policy would likely mean a funding boost for the Scottish government under the Barnett formula.

However, the lowering of tuition fees in England could have a significant impact on the revenue of Scottish universities, many of which draw substantial income from rest-of-UK students. Scottish institutions are unlikely to be able to charge more than their English counterparts, and the SNP is yet to state whether it would direct any funding received under the Barnett formula to higher education.

The SNP manifesto also states that the party will “support sensible immigration policies that meet our economic needs and, as a priority, we will seek the reintroduction of the post-study work visa”.

The document adds that the SNP will “continue to work closely with our universities to maintain their position of global excellence”. This includes “supporting ambitious collaborations between universities, businesses and others”, in part through a network of eight innovation centres, the manifesto says.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'