Government gets lesson on university top-up fees

Alliance Higher Education spokesperson Councillor Michael Long has said the Government has been given a stern lesson about its plans to introduce top-up fees in universities.

While MPs voted by 267 to 193 on Monday against a motion to abandon the plans, the Government’s majority was slashed to just 74.

Cllr Long stated: “The introduction of top-up fees will only add to the debt burden for students. This could be up to £3,000 per year after 2006.

“Alliance wants to see the abolition of tuition fees and opposes top-up fees, as they disadvantage those from low-income backgrounds.

“Top-up fees would create a two-tier university system with the richest in society best place to get the best courses. Alliance is committed to the principle of free education for all, and we will continue to work to ensure that top-up fees are not introduced in Northern Ireland.

“While the vote to abandon top-up fees at Westminster was lost, the fact that the Government’s majority was slashed from 164 to just 74 shows that there is opposition to these ill thought out plans across the political spectrum.”

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