Irvine Welsh: Trainspotting author says he would have needed to sell cocaine to be able to afford university tuition fees

Scottish author complained about the high cost of education

Helen Nianias
Thursday 23 April 2015 12:31 BST
Irvine Welsh, novelist, playwright and writer
Irvine Welsh, novelist, playwright and writer

Irvine Welsh has said that he'd have needed to sell drugs to afford a university education.

Speaking at an event earlier this week, Welsh described tuition fees as "horrendous".

"I was able to go to university and get a full grant which was two thirds of my dad’s yearly wages and get all my fees paid and all of that sort of stuff," he said.

"Now the equivalent to me would be to probably be selling cocaine, I’d buy loads of cocaine and cut it and sell it.

"No seriously, I wouldn’t want to go through life incurring massive debt to get an uncertain opportunity at the end of it. I think it’s absolutely horrendous what young people now have to put up with."

Welsh, 56, who grew up in Edinburgh, said that he found school hard but that he received a good higher education thanks to the system at the time.

"My school education was terrible," the author said. "I just wasn’t able to concentrate. I just didn’t take in information that way. I’ve learned how to adapt, but it was a difficult time, school.

"But I did have a great post-school education because I was able to go to a further education college and pay a pound to do an A-level.

"I think they’ve basically been completely forgotten and there’s no real opportunity get a real education, I think there has to be a means to build a proper society so you can get a proper education."

Tuition fees were initially introduced in 1998 by the Labour government at a rate of £1,000 a year. From 2010, universities were allowed to price a year of study at £9,000 under the Coalition.

Additional reporting by Jessica Barrett

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