Prior to the election Liberal Democrat policy was to oppose any rise in fees and accordingly last January Mr Huhne pledged his opposition as part of a campaign called ‘Funding Our Future’ organised by the National Union of Students (NUS).
On January 4th Mr Huhne signed the following pledge:
“I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative”
Commenting on his website Mr Huhne added:
“Everyone who has the ability and desire to go to university should be able to, and the price of study should not be a hindrance.
“The Liberal Democrats have strongly opposed top-up fees, and I urge the government not to saddle students with even more debt, and instead to create one simple, centralised system of student finance that increases accessibility to further education, rather than acting as a further barrier to it…higher education funding must be based on fairness and access to all”
Since joining the Conservative party in coalition the Liberal Democrats have dropped their opposition to a number of measures– a rise in VAT and the building of Nuclear Power stations while discarding or watering down some of their own key policies – the lowering of the capital gains threshold to £1k and raising of tax allowances to £10k.
A poll commissioned by the NUS prior to the general showed 50% of students intended to vote Liberal Democrat due to its unequivocal stand on student’s fees.
Speaking earlier today Aaron Porter, NUS president, said:
“Liberal Democrat MPs have long opposed tuition fees and at the general election each of them signed a pledge to vote against higher fees in Parliament. It would be a complete betrayal of the electorate to abandon this flagship promise.”
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