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George Osborne Letter 'Exposes Rank Hypocrisy' Of Chancellor Over Tuition Fees

'When I was at university, my education was free'.

17/05/2016 21:06 | Updated 18 May 2016
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

A 13-year-old letter from George Osborne calling tuition fees "a tax on learning" has been unearthed, triggering accusations of hypocrisy for presiding over a huge increase in them while in office.

Musician Rosy Williams published a photo to Facebook of the letter from Osborne, written in May 2003 when he was a first-time MP and backbencher.

Williams said she unearthed the letter from a box of old letters. Writing in May, 2003, Osborne raised the issue of tuition fees as a major concern for "people your age".

In her Facebook post, Williams noted the letter highlighted a Tory pledge to abolish tuition fees if the party won power. During Osborne's time as chancellor, tuition fees were actually trebled to £9,000 a year. 

"So glad he made sure our 'voices were heard in parliament'," Williams wrote sarcastically.

"When I was at university 10 years ago, my education was free," he wrote.

"Since then, the Government has imposed fees which mean that most students today pay more than 1,000 a year to go to university. Now they want to go further and introduce so-called 'top-up fees', which will mean students paying £3,000 a year for their education. To my mind, this is a tax on learning and is very unfair".

At the time of writing, it had been shared on Facebook more than 2,000 times.

Tomorrow's Queen's Speech is expected to include a bill that would allow the best performing universities to raise fees above the £9,000 ceiling.

Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle told The Mirror: "This letter exposes George Osborne’s rank hypocrisy.

"Then, when he was Chancellor, he trebled them. He warned of the fear of debt putting young people off, but on his watch, students are leaving university owing tens of thousands of pounds.

"The Labour government helped more people than ever get into university and achieve their potential. But the Chancellor called this ‘pointless’. This just goes to show how out of touch he is."

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