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Part of Opposition Day — [7th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 9:24 pm on 30th November 2010.

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Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour, Glasgow Central 9:24 pm, 30th November 2010

It is a great pleasure to follow two fellow Scottish Members, although we had a rather delusional performance from Pete Wishart. It is understandable-he is still feeling a bit dizzy after the economic crisis in Ireland, on which they are modelling Scottish independence.

Let us return to the debate at hand. Anyone who has witnessed the huge and largely peaceful demonstrations against the coalition's plans will appreciate just how important the issue we are debating is for thousands of students, school pupils, teaching staff and parents. I shall surprise hon. Members by saying that I agree with the Deputy Prime Minister. Before the election, he said:

"If we have learnt one thing from the economic crisis, it is that you can't build a future on debt."

Now that he is in government, he conveniently forgets that our future is our young people. The coalition Government are hitting them with record levels of debt as they leave university.

The future prosperity of our country depends on the UK's being a skill-based economy. To drive that, we must invest in higher and further education, not cut teaching grants by up to 80%. The plan is, in effect, a Tory-led privatisation of our higher education system.