The University of Cumbria hosted an event at their Lancaster campus on Friday of week one to debate the costs of higher education and its funding. The panel included a number of speakers including Conservative MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Eric Ollerenshaw, his Liberal Democrat opponent in the last election Stuart Langhorn, Vice President of the NUS and Vice Chancellor of Cumbria University.
When asked to comment about the rise in tuition fees, Ollerenshaw said, “I would urge you to look at the rise in context of government debt. After the announcement of the spending review it is going to be tough right across the board”. He added, “There is no extra public money available and we have vice-chancellors asking us for more money”.
On the same topic, Langhorn spoke for Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, conveying that “tuition fees are a poll tax on education and we are totally against them. I am committed to vote against any proposal that means lifting the cap on fees.”
With regard to the way in which the debate was organised, Ben Whittaker, Vice President of the NUS said “the way in which the panel was set up was disgraceful. It’s a shame that there was not a student or a student body represented in the panel.”
The vice-chancellor of the University of Cumbria believes that many university vice-chancellors will be looking at the £6000 mark as the government will outline cuts to the higher education funding in the spending review.
As the proposals are being mulled over by various MP’s, students, teachers, universities and many others the NUS calls for students to join in the march of protest in London on Wednesday of week five.