Now Labour plans to raise fees AND cut student support grants

December 17, 2009 4:47 PM

Prospective Lib Dem MP for Newcastle East Greg Stone has warned that Labour appear to have their sights set on reducing financial support for students by scrapping grants for less well off students and making loans more expensive.

The Times Higher Education Supplement quotes a senior HE figure as acknowledging that public sector spending cuts look set to target student support. The Chancellor's Pre Budget Report has already confirmed that savings worth £600million will be required from 2011 in the HE sector, and has suggested that these will include "changes to student support within existing arrangements; efficiency savings and prioritisation across universities, science and research; some switching of modes of study in higher education; and reductions in budgets that do not support student participation"

There are already rumours that student financial support grants and loan subsidy will be targeted to bear the brunt of the cuts as the Labour Government seeks to encourage the tuition fees review to shift the financial burden even more heavily onto students.

Greg Stone said "I agree with the NUS, who have warned that it will be unacceptable to make students "pay more for less". Clearly the public finances are in a complete mess thanks to Labour's catastrophic management, but a double whammy of higher fees and lower support grants is really going make students suffer even more. I am also concerned that beyond the current £600m reduction in spending in the sector, there will need to be cuts of around 6% to future HE spending in the next Parliament as a result of the PBR's failure to bite the bullet."