We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Clegg would axe tuition fee by 2015

December 18, 2009 8:41 PM
By Charles West

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has re-affirmed his commitment to abolishing tuition fees after warning the flagship policy might have to be sacrificed.

He announced the party had found a way to fund the pledge despite the dire state of the public finances. It would not be implemented in full until 2015, however.

Mr Clegg angered activists at the party's autumn conference after suggesting the £2.5 billion-a-year policy might prove unaffordable in the current economic climate.

But, in an email to Lib Dem members, he has said the party's federal policy committee had agreed a new commitment to phase out tuition fees over a six-year period.

"We were right to oppose tuition fees from day one, and have been right to continue to oppose any lifting of the cap on the limit of fees," he said.

Under the party's revised tuition fees policy, tuition fees would be scrapped first for final year students in a bid to discourage them from dropping out.

Second year students would be covered in 2013, followed by part-time students in 2014 and, in 2015, all remaining fees would be scrapped.

Mr Clegg said: "Of course, at a time of economic crisis, when the government has got the public finances into a mess, it is extremely important to be responsible about making a big financial commitment like this.

"Students want to be treated like grown ups; they know money doesn't grow on trees and that big spending commitments like this are only affordable over time.

"That's why we have agreed together to lay out a financially responsible timetable to scrap fees, step by step, over the six years after the general election."