Liberal Democrat MPs should vote for the new tuition fees proposal

I’ve read, seen and digested the views and opinions of students, politicians, parents and commentators on the new tuition fees proposal. After much deliberation I believe that the Liberal Democrats who are Ministers should vote for the new tuition fees, those outside the Government can vote as they wish, but preferably for or abstain.

The reason why is what we’ve agreed on in the Coalition Agreement. The argument that we’re breaking promises, principles etc. was lost when tuition fees was not negotiated as a red line during the 5 days after 6th May.

All the MPs who are getting hot under the collar now had a chance to state that tuition fees had to be non-negotiable at the time of the coalition talks. They didn’t, if they did they didn’t complain hard enough to our team of negotiators.

We, as members, had a chance to reject the Coalition Agreement if we felt that tuition fees were that big an issue. We didn’t. Some members like Linda Jack and David Rendell did voice their concerns and voted against, I admire them for that.

It was obvious to all that once tuition fees was dependent on the Browne review a rise would happen, to claim otherwise is naivety at best, downright wishful thinking at worst. Our role then is to get as best a deal as we can, to make it as progressive as possible.

We have done that, the proposals mean no fees up front, payments starting at £21k, 30% of future students will actually be paying less for their Higher Education than under the current system. A graduate tax is virtually the same proposal except there is no cap or guarantee that the money will only be spent on Higher Education.

If we want to be a party of protest, snipe from the sidelines and see none of our policies implemented then we can go back to that, but I want to see Liberal Democrat policies implemented and you can only do that in government. We are now in Government, we must govern.

3 thoughts on “Liberal Democrat MPs should vote for the new tuition fees proposal

  1. Phil,
    If I were an MP I would be voting for a referral tomorrow and asking that Vince Cable and his team take the Bill back to the committee stage and rethink the whole issue. There are obviously other ways of producing the money required to pay for HE.Do we choose bright young graduates unburdened by huge debts(as the 40 % not eligible for grants or so rich they do not need them will be) or senseless military expenditure and crazy football bids? I should like to know how many young marrieds will be struggling with student loans repayments of £60-70,000 +interest, a mortgage and £20,000 worth of child care costs pa.I am so glad my fees were paid by my local authority in the sixties.

  2. Cut in University funding – 30%
    Rise in tuition fees – 300% (potentially)

    What happened to fairness? I thought the rich and the current generation (who’s age of credit credit credit) got us into this mess in the first place should bare the brunt?

    I’m not a big maths person, but the figures don’t add up and it smacks of the easy way out by burdening the young and the future of the country.

    • I’m not saying the proposals are what we want as a party, but by not making it a ref line in the negotiations the proposals we have now are always going to be what we got. If we start reneging on this then what’s to stop the Tories from reneging on our policies we have like increasing the income tax threshold to £10k, the £2.5bn pupil premium, backing the referendum on AV, more money for the Green Investment Bank.

      The solution we have is a lot fairer than the current system and I’ve heard this from Labour supporters!

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