Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Tuition fees plans clear Parliament

Government plans to raise the tuition fees cap have cleared Parliament

Government plans to massively raise student tuition fees have comfortably survived another test as peers rejected a Labour bid to stop the hike in its tracks.

The coalition successfully contained dissent over the move to almost treble the maximum charge to £9,000 a year - winning the vote by 73, almost twice its majority in the Lords.

It will come as a relief to ministers who last week saw the coalition's majority slashed to 21 in the Commons as fewer than half of all Liberal Democrat MPs voted in favour of the measure.

Some did raise fears about the policy, including former higher education spokeswoman Baroness Sharp of Guildford who said there were elements "which I don't understand and I think are unfair".

But peers voted by a majority of 68 to support raising the basic level of university fees to £6,000 and by a majority of 73 to raising the cap on fees to £9,000 from 2012.

The current fee cap is £3,290 for the academic year 2010/11.

Outside, there was no repeat of the violent disorder which marred protests on Thursday, with just a handful of demonstrators gathering at New Scotland Yard to voice anger at the police tactics.

Defeat would have been rare as the fees increase is being taken through Parliament not in a Bill but in a regulation, of a kind which the House of Lords conventionally does not reject.

But Labour tabled an amendment which would have killed it - forcing the Government to revisit the Commons vote - arguing that exceptional circumstances gave it constitutional justification.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz