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Posted on Saturday 16th October 2010

We need free education for all

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Sheffield City College

I have seen another leaflet from the Lib Dems. This one is almost entirely devoted to attacking the other parties while saying as little as possible about their own policies. This negative campaigning gives politicians a bad name. Statements like “The Greens can’t win here” are just ridiculous when we already have 2 councillors elected.

My opinion of Robbie Cowbury, the Lib Dem candidate, was raised considerably this week when I discovered he volunteers for my favourite charity, Assist, that helps destitute asylum seekers. However the Lib Dems have done themselves no favours this week, especially with the announcement concerning student fees. This must be one of the greatest U turns in political history, and means that voters will continue to treat politicians manifestos with contempt.

The Greens believe education must be free, equally accessible to all, ideologically independent and of high quality as well as meeting the individual developmental needs of each student. This week’s recommendations undermine these principles, as students from low-income households will be put off by debt. Far too few students from our area currently manage to get to University. Rather than widening access to university, these proposals will make our already unfair system more elitist.

The only way to ensure an equitable system is to scrap tuition fees altogether, funding higher education through increased taxation on top earners. That way, those who benefit most from higher education pay towards the cost without saddling all students with crippling debts at a time when jobs are scarce and housing costs are spiralling out of control. The Green Party is now unique in supporting free education for all.

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