Lib Dems Consider Pledge To Cap Tuition Fees To £6,000, Despite Nick Clegg's Broken Promise

You'd be forgiven for getting a sense of deja vu after hearing the Liberal Democrats are considering including a pledge to cut tuition fees in their upcoming manifesto for the next general election.

Nick Clegg and co are apparently mulling the idea of promising a £6,000 cap on university fees, despite breaking their previous promise to abolish tuition fees entirely.

According to senior Lib Dems, the idea, which echoes Labour's proposals of a £6,000 cap, is among a number of options being considered by a higher education working party, the Independent reported.

A spokesperson for the party told the Huffington Post UK: "There is a working group for higher education who will be considering a variety of issues and solutions to problems and formulate a vision for what the Liberal Democrats see higher education as in the future.

"There is a wide range of views across the party which are expressed in the working group."

Figures released earlier this month by UCAS showed university applications had dropped for a second year, sparking fresh concerns would-be students are still being put off by higher tuition fees.

Labour's shadow minister for universities and science Shabana Mahmood MP has previously described the drop in students entering higher education as a "massive blow" to the UK.

She told HuffPost UK it was "astonishing" the Lib Dem party are talking about pledging to lower fees.

"The Lib Dems betrayed students when they broke their pledge not to raise fees at the last election and as such no one can ever trust what they say about fees again. It is astonishing that they should be now talking about new pledges to lower fees when they have a Lib Dem Secretary of State responsible for fees policy in government who could lower fees this year if their party truly believed that this was the right thing to do.

"The Lib Dems will be judged by their record, and so far their policy in government has been to raise fees to £9,000 and slash funding for universities."

Mahmood added Labour propose lowering fees to £6,00 and maintaining funding levels for universities by asking the richest graduates to pay "a little bit more back".

Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students said: “It would be disastrous if politicians approached the next election sticking their heads in the sand over the issue of tuition fees so it is positive that the Liberal Democrat leadership has seen the need to reopen debate. They shouldn’t fool themselves though that this will make amends for their decision to support a trebling of tuition fees, nor that voters will trust the word of any MP who went back on their pledge.

“When the Labour party suggested a £6,000 cap we said it was not good enough a policy to take to the next election and it is still a terrible policy. Any system that involves tuition fees will always put some debt averse students off. Any cut to tuition fees that does not come with a corresponding rise in public funding means less money for education and skills, poorer quality for students and symbolises a doomed a doomed attempt to do higher education on the cheap.”

In October last year Nick Clegg offered up an apology to students over his failure to keep his tuition fee promise, in the form of a video, which, of course, was then turned into a song. The stunt, which was described by one member of the National Union of Students as a "slick, PR-driven, self-serving machine", did little to quell the anger of students.