Tuition fees: An open letter to Ben Wallace MP

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Dear Ben Wallace MP,

On Friday, November 13, 2009 at Lancaster town hall you signed a pledge to the students of Lancaster University stating that you would ‘Vote against any increase in fees, under the current system, in the next parliament’.

It is disappointing that you have yet to make your stance clear on how you will vote in the Commons on Thursday, December 9, 2010 on this very issue.

The vote, due to take place in the Commons this Thursday is a vote on the current tuition fee cap only and not a vote on a new system for funding higher education, that will come later, along with considerations of the government proposals following the Browne review. The 2,000 of your constituents and I who petitioned you with personal letters and the 300 who witnessed you signing the personal pledge look forward to you holding dear to your promise.

Anything other than a vote against this increase in fees will be seen as a betrayal of your personal pledge to constituents and will send a clear message to current and future students, as well as parents and guardians in your new constituency about any promises you make to them in the future.

In the second part of your pledge you stated that you would ‘pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.’ At risk of repeating some of the arguments already rehearsed in this debate, I would refer you to Aaron Porter’s response to the claim that the government proposals for higher education funding (to be voted on in the future) are fair and progressive. They are in fact far from fair and progressive.

I would also be interested to know what you will be doing to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative system for higher education funding, after you have upheld the first part of your pledge this Thursday.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Payne
President
Lancaster University Students’ Union
2008‐2010

Robbie Pickles
President
Lancaster University Students’ Union
2010‐2011

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