From education to employment

Students pay a heavy price from latest Starmer U-turn


Labour is set to abandon its promise to scrap university tuition fees in England, Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader pledged to support getting rid of fees in his 2020 leadership campaign.

But he has now said that the party was looking at alternative options for funding.

In addition to this, Starmer has added that the current fees system, of £9,250 a year, is “unfair” and “doesn’t work for students, and doesn’t work for universities”.

Sector Response

Co-leader of the Green Party, Adrian Ramsay, said:

“This is the latest U-turn from Keir Starmer’s Labour and this time it’s students who are paying a heavy price. The Green Party believes tuition fees should be scrapped and grants restored. 

“Higher education is a public good and should therefore be properly funded by Government. Students in England pay some of the highest fees in the world, while in Scotland, Germany and Sweden university education is free. This shows that the whopping £9000 charge for students, introduced by the coalition government and now backed by Labour, is a political choice. Publicly funded higher education is not only possible but essential to a society committed to equality and social mobility.”

Co-chair of the Young Greens and a student at Oxford University, Kelsey Trevett, added:

“This U-turn from Labour is deeply disappointing but is exactly what we have come to expect from Keir Starmer’s Labour. It is no surprise that the architects of tuition fees won’t commit to their abolition, and for millions of students, this solidifies what we already knew: Labour is not on our side. Sky-high tuition fees are adding to the yawning gap between the generations and the growing sense of injustice among young people.”

University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady said:

‘Keir Starmer repeatedly pledged to abolish the toxic system of tuition fees and in doing so was elected leader of the Labour party. It is deeply disappointing for him to now be reneging on that promise, a move which would condemn millions of future students to a life of debt. What we really need is a positive vision for higher education that puts staff and students first.

‘The current, tuition fee reliant, model is broken. It has saddled students with decades of debt, turned universities from sites of learning into labyrinthine businesses obsessed with generating revenue and surpluses over all else, and led to staff pay and working conditions being degraded causing unprecedented industrial unrest.

‘The country desperately needs a publicly funded higher education system.’

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