Tuition Fees

Part of Opposition Day — [7th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 8:54 pm on 30th November 2010.

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Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Labour, Lewisham, Deptford 8:54 pm, 30th November 2010

My hon. Friend is correct, and I am sure that in her constituency, as in mine, there are many young people who really believe that all their hopes and aspirations have already been dashed because those ladders of opportunity have been cut away.

The students of whom I was speaking are today doing part-time jobs, which are increasingly difficult to find, in order to purchase many of the materials they need for their specialist courses. They already feel the burden of current levels of student debt, and told me that they could not possibly contemplate paying three times the current fee levels. The same is true for the students of Goldsmiths and for the many school children in my constituency who now despair of getting a university education.

Goldsmiths is known internationally for its creative and innovative approach to teaching, being ranked ninth in the UK for its world-leading, four-star research. I can only guess what fees of £9,000 a year will do to the aspirations of today's young people. I cannot comprehend what the loss of teaching funding could do to Goldsmiths college. Frankly, I am astounded that coalition Ministers can propose such action and that Lib Dem Members could vote for it.