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Students: Labour Have Let You Down On Tuition Fees

25/07/2017 15:55 | Updated 25 July 2017
Bloomberg via Getty Images

I had a great time at university. Partly because, I imagine like many of you, I adopted a work hard attitude, but still had a great time and made many friends along the way.

Also like many of you, I took out a student loan to pay for this. These loans allow universities to continue to provide world class education without charging students up front. Without this, anyone who, like me, couldn't afford the fees, couldn't go to uni.

I believe it's right that those of us who have had the benefits of a university education, and the enhanced earning potential that brings - essentially, an investment in yourself - should be the ones paying a proportion of the cost once we can afford to. It would be wrong to burden our friends who went down different, yet equally valuable routes - such as apprenticeships or straight in to the world of work - with footing the bill for us.

I appreciate not everyone will agree with me on this, and for those who believe student debt should be wiped, Jeremy Corbyn's clear election campaign commitment to fix existing student debt will have been very persuasive.

In fact, I know many of you will have based your decision on who to vote for in the last election on this very pledge. But more recently, John McDonnell, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, well and truly let the cat out the bag when he admitted that Labour's election promise on student debt was "just an ambition".

Since, we've heard much backtracking from senior Labour figures, claiming they never made such a pledge, but this is misleading. In a campaign video during the election, Shadow Justice Minister, Imran Hussain MP, said:

"Just this morning Jeremy Corbyn has announced that the tuition fees will be abolished straight away from September if there's a Labour government, and that we will bring back immediately EMA and also that every existing student will have all their debt wiped off. That's fantastic news, isn't it guys?"

When senior shadow ministers are clearly stating "every existing student will have all their debt wiped off" in their election campaigns, it's astounding that the Leader of the very same party would continue to claim they had never made such a pledge.

I know many may feel they have been tricked into voting for a party on this basis. This is wrong and extremely disappointing - I'm sure you would agree with me that politicians should be straight about what we can and cannot afford to do.

I'm sorry that from Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, to Angela Rayner, the Labour Party have misled you about such an important issue for our generation. So much for the 'new' style of politics and all its promise, eh?

Tom Pursglove is the Conservative MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire

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