Tories discuss change of tack on university course payment

May 27, 2005

The Conservative Party looks set to abandon its anti-tuition fees policy after hitting an "electoral brick wall" on the subject in this month's campaign, The Times Higher has learnt.

Party sources revealed that shadow ministers were likely to "row back" from their policy of commercial rate loans, which has failed to impress students. But whether the Tories will decide to adopt a pro-fees stance before the next election is unclear.

"The guiding principle must be that whatever we do that it doesn't deter bright students from poorer backgrounds going to university without being too great a burden on the taxpayer," the source said.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats revealed that they were about to rethink their tax proposals, including the pledge for a 50 per cent tax rate on earnings more than £100,000.

The cash raised from the measure would have paid for the scrapping of tuition fees, according to the Lib Dems.

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