Welcome fee policy

October 6, 2000

I was delighted that you gave such prominence to Baroness Blackstone's reply to my question on differential fees at the fringe meeting organised by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals during the Labour Party conference ("Blackstone rules out top-up fees", THES, September 29).

Her unequivocal statement of government opposition to differential fees was warmly welcomed by those at the meeting and will reassure many others inside and outside the Labour Party.

Top-up fees would clearly undermine the government's commitment to widening access and, as Lady Blackstone pointed out, would be deeply unpopular with large numbers of'middle-income families. Perhaps those "policy advisers" who have been encouraging the idea will now start promoting government policy, rather than seeking to undermine it.

Paul Blomfield Chair, Sheffield Labour Party

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