New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
11 March 2015updated 12 Oct 2023 9:47am

Exclusive: Labour grassroots revolt over tuition fees

A new internal campaign has called Ed Miliband's tuition fee cut a "weak policy" and is calling for the complete abolition of tuition fees.

By Stephen Bush

Labour activists have branded Ed Miliband’s commitment to cut tuition fees “a weak policy” and are pressing him to go much further than the party’s headline commitment to cut tuition fees. The Labour Campaign for Free Education rejects any additional financial commitment from graduates, believing that the cost of university education should be paid for through general taxation.

The campaign has been backed by seven sitting Labour MPs – Frank Doran, Ronnie Campbell, Brian Donohue, John McDonnell, George Mudie, Katy Clark and Ian Lavery. In addition, the campaign has the support of a series of PPCs, including Cheryl Pidgeon, the candidate in South Derbyshire, which Labour held until 2010. 

James McAsh, one of the founders of the Labour Campaign for Free Education and a member of the London Young Labour Executive said:

“£6,000 fees are better than £9,000 fees. But public support for abolishing tuition fees is very high, especially amongst students and young people, and we are being offered a policy that won’t capture anyone’s imagination. 


Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

“£6,000 fees are a weak policy: it won’t make a huge amount of difference to how much debt students are in, it won’t curtail the disastrous effects of marketisation in the sector, and it won’t tackle student poverty. Bold progressive policies – like free education and taxing the rich – aren’t just right, they are the only way that Labour can win the election.”

The party has no intention from a policy that it believes is fairer than the one inherited from the coalition while also being fiscally credible. But, as with the greater opposition to Trident among Labour PPCs that the NS revealed last week, this is another reminder that Ed Miliband, will find his party’s left flank, will be an increasingly vocal critic of his platform and policies should be make it into office in May. 

Content from our partners
<strong>The future of private credit</strong>
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce