Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has re-affirmed to students that the SNP will continue to protect free education in Scotland, after Labour leader Johann Lamont said that she was not opposed to back-door tuition fees for Scottish students.
Labour claimed before last May’s Holyrood election that it would not reintroduce back-door tuition fees in Scottish universities, which the SNP Scottish Government scrapped in 2007. However, in an interview with the Times Educational Supplement, Lamont has now ditched that pled
Linda said “I want to affirm to students that under the SNP tuition will remain free.
“They need not worry about the kind of backtracking that we have seen from other parties of late.
“Just one week ago, statistics showed that while applications in England and Wales have plummeted in the face of spiralling tuition fees, in Scotland – where access to university is based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay – the level of student applications has been maintained.
“That proves that in times of economic hardship it’s all the more important that financial barriers are not put in the way of access to university education.”
Johann Lamont was interviewed in the times Educational Supplement on 3.2.2012
Q. Former Labour education spokesman Des McNulty described a graduate contribution to university education as “inevitable”. What is your view?
A. Certainly, I wouldn’t be in favour of upfront tuition fees. But if you’re funding your determination not to have a graduate contribution on a 20 per cent cut to further education, a political debate is needed around that. I’m not rushing to have a graduate contribution, but if current policy means colleges will not serve the needs we want, and lots of people continue to be deterred from higher education, there’s a problem.