Students and academics to stage London march over funding cuts and fee rises

Thousands of students and lecturers will march through central London on 10 November in protest at government cuts to universities and colleges and a hike in tuition fees.

November 9, 2010




The University and College Union and the National Union of Students, joint organisers of the rally, say the event is likely to be the biggest education demonstration in decades.

Protesters will assemble at Horse Guards Avenue, off Whitehall, from 11.30am. The march through Westminster, under the banner Fund Our Future: Stop Education Cuts, will begin at 12.30pm, with the route running from Whitehall, past the Houses of Parliament and along Millbank.

A rally and speeches will take place on Millbank, outside Tate Britain, from 1.15pm.

The demonstration follows news of cuts to higher education of £2.9 billion by 2014-15, as announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review on 20 October.

Future state funding for university teaching has been promised only for science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

Undergraduate university fees are currently £3,290 a year, but the coalition government wants to shift more of the cost of higher education to graduates.

From 2012-13, it plans to introduce a new “double cap” on university fees, with a basic level of £6,000 a year and an upper limit of £9,000.

Graduates would not begin to repay the money until they were earning more than £21,000 a year, at which point they would also be charged a “real” rate of interest on their student loan.

In a letter last week, the NUS called on Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader, to meet the protesters.

Before the election, Lib Dem MPs signed an NUS pledge to oppose any rise in fees.

Aaron Porter, president of the NUS, said Mr Clegg had “failed to give a proper answer to students as to why he is advocating a rise in tuition fees just six months after saying he would campaign and fight against any attempt to increase the cap.

“Thousands of students, many of whom will have voted for Liberal Democrats because of their pledge, will be taking to the streets on Wednesday. This is a perfect opportunity for Nick Clegg to explain himself and answer the many questions students have to ask him,” Mr Porter said.

For details on the march, go to www.demo2010.org or visit the UCU or NUS websites.

rebecca.attwood@tsleducation.com

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