Students vote for tax plan

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Indy Politics

The National Union of Students last night voted to review its commitment to student grants and consider supporting a graduate tax instead.

Holding its annual conference in Blackpool, the union voted overwhelmingly to reconsider its policy after one of the most heated and polarised debates for years.

Many delegates opposed the move, believing it would mean the end of free higher and further education. One prominent opponent was Kevin Sexton, NUS London area convenor. In his opinion, "a lot of delegates were led to believe that this was just a research document with no proposals. However, I know that the NUS finished typing its proposals three weeks before conference. A graduate tax is a poll tax on education".

But Jim Murphy, NUS president, welcomed the move. "This amendment at last provides the student movement with the opportunity to lead the debate. For the first time ever it will be students in a student-led review who will decide upon the future of their education."

The vote requires further ratification at conference today, but that is widely regarded as being a formality.