Results 141–160 of 2037 for speaker:George Lyon

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: Yes. [Interruption.]

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: I would like to discuss some examples of the benefits of the new package. Mature students will no longer have to pay tuition fees. They will also benefit from £10 million additional grant support, worth an average of £2,000. They will be exempted from the graduate contribution scheme, but will still be entitled to full loan support. That means £2,000 extra cash while they study and not a...

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: I support the comments made by Tommy Sheridan yesterday. Students with a family income of less than £10,000—10 per cent of students—will not have to pay tuition fees. Those students will benefit from £8,000 in three maintenance grants and a total of £2,000 extra to live on. Furthermore, they will graduate with £4,000 less debt than under the current arrangements. That is a huge...

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: I have taken several interventions and I would like to make some progress. Students with a family income of £22,000 per annum will have their fees abolished and will receive £1,200 extra grant. They will graduate £4,330 less in debt than under Cubie's proposals.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: I am conscious of the time. Those figures demonstrate that, across the range of income levels, the majority will benefit from the package. However, the biggest beneficiaries—this relates to Tommy Sheridan's point—are the students from low-income families who are currently vastly under-represented in our Scottish universities. That is a significant step forward.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: As the minister said in his reply yesterday, he is very willing to consider providing the grant maintenance package to those students who are attending universities and further education colleges south of the border.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: I have taken many interventions. [Interruption.]

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: I want to discuss the graduate contribution scheme, which the Opposition is trying to present as some form of tuition tax. Let us get the facts straight: 50 per cent of students will be exempt from repayment. There is a cast-iron guarantee that the majority of students will have less debt than under the present system, even with the loan and contribution combined. We have also guaranteed...

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: No graduate loans will take any longer to pay off, and most students will pay off their debts much quicker. That is good news for students, and it deals with the issue of loan aversion that Andrew Cubie highlighted in his report.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: Exactly—and that is why this deal abolishes tuition fees with no deferment whatsoever. Fifty per cent of students will not have to make any contribution to the graduate endowment.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: I have given way a good number of times, but Fergus should not worry, because I am keeping an eye on him and he will get a chance yet. We have heard a good deal of criticism from the SNP and the Tories that Scottish students at English universities will not have their fees abolished. I am glad that they recognise that they are being abolished in Scotland. I repeat our challenge of yesterday:...

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: As the minister indicated yesterday, he will be willing to examine and act upon any real solution to the problem that is proposed. I will give way to Fergus, who has been very patient. I am always very generous to him.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: Fergus has just demonstrated why he needed a career change. What do the Opposition offer us? David McLetchie of the Tories is now pretending to be the students' champion. That is nothing less than two-faced political opportunism. The Tories have no credibility on higher education and student support.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: Eighteen years of Tory rule featured cut after cut, 13 separate cuts in all, from the abolition of minimum grants to the removal of benefits and the annual cuts in grants. Eighteen years of Tory cuts created the crises in student funding and the higher education sector. The Tories were the architects of student poverty, so I hope that we will see no crocodile tears from Mr McLetchie.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: Mr McLetchie has given the explanation of why the Tories were the architects of student poverty. The numbers rose and no extra money went in; indeed, the money was cut. The other Opposition party and partner, the SNP, has so far had five different policies on student support since the previous general election. There have been no fewer than three in the past seven months. The SNP has been...

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: On our commitment on student maintenance, the manifesto mentions "maintenance of up to £2,000 a year".

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: No, I want to finish. A Scottish Parliament run by the SNP could afford only a grant of £500 a year. The grant proposed by the Liberal Democrat/Labour Executive will be four times greater and will cover 30,000 students—10,000 more than the SNP pledge. On every issue faced by the Parliament, the SNP's policy has been quite simple: if the Executive spends £100, it will spend £200. Time...

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: For example, when the Executive says that it will spend £100 million on roads, Kenny MacAskill doubles that figure again and again and again and says that the SNP will spend £800 million on roads. It is the same again today. The Executive is spending £50 million and John Swinney says: "I'll double your money. We will spend £110 million". This is game show economics. The SNP's spending...

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: If it were not for the Scottish Liberal Democrats in government, there would be no Cubie report, no abolition of fees, no reintroduction of £8,000 of grants and no £50 million package for education. We have demonstrated that, under devolution, radical Scottish solutions can be delivered for Scottish problems.

Scottish Parliament: Further and Higher Education (27 Jan 2000)

George Lyon: The question today for the Tory and SNP Opposition partners is whether they will vote with us to abolish tuition fees and restore grants, or whether they will abandon their manifesto commitments and vote against a package that delivers £200 million extra to Scottish students.


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