Tories promise to end 'tax on learning' by scrapping university fees

Click to follow
Indy Politics

The Tory party will start the countdown to its general election campaign today by promising to abolish all university tuition fees.

The Tory party will start the countdown to its general election campaign today by promising to abolish all university tuition fees.

Iain Duncan Smith, the party leader, will announce that the Conservatives would fund the move by scrapping the Government's planned access regulator and target of getting 50 per cent of all 18 to 30-year-olds into university by 2010.

The policies will be unveiled by Mr Duncan Smith when he launches the "Fair Deal for Everyone" campaign, a commitment to better public services and lower taxes that will form the centrepiece of the party's next election manifesto. In a speech at University College London, he will pledge to end what he calls Labour's "tax on learning" by abolishing tuition fees, currently at £1,100 a year, and plans to introduce top-up fees of £3,000.

The annual £700m cost of the policy will be funded by scrapping the £480m a year expansion of the university sector and £200m annual cost of the Office For Fair Access (Offa) regulator.

Universities have complained bitterly about the bureaucracy and interference involved in plans for the regulator and have long opposed the 50 per cent target as too rigid.

Damien Green, the Tory Education spokesman, said: "Labour's university tuition fees are a tax on learning ... Under the Conservatives, the university sector will be smaller, better focused and open to all who deserve to be there."

Up to 140 Labour MPs have signed an Early Day Motion calling for the Government to abandon its top-up fees policy.

Comments