press release on the drop of UCAS applications and University fees.A week or so ago, Chatham & Aylesford's PPC Cllr Tristan Osborne posted this
As a Local Liberal democrat I had some problems with it and thankfully the Executive committee agreed and I am grateful that they gave the blessing and backing for the following letter to the Medway Messenger as an official press release:
In a recent press release Labour’s PPC for Chatham & Aylesford, Cllr Tristan Osborne, accused local Lib Dems of breaking their pre-election pledge and voting in favour of raising tuition fees up to £9000 a year.
Whilst I am touched that Cllr Osborne believes we locally have quite so much sway over Westminster, the fact is we don’t. With no Liberal Democrat MPs for the Medway towns how could they break/keep their pledge? Student numbers applying for university are declining. This is partly due to the questionable value of some University Degrees but also by the removal of free University for all by the previous Labour Government. Labour also pledged not to bring in top up fees for tuition and then broke their pledge. Labour also commissioned the Brown report that suggested fee rises in the first place. If anything, the Liberal Democrats have made the repayment of student loans fairer and easier to pay for graduates removing the shadow of debt from their heads. It is interesting to see that after a couple of years in opposition Cllr Osborne’s memory is purged of Labour’s abysmal record.
Perhaps he’ll take ownership of the last Labour Government’s many broken promises, e.g. their failure during 13 years of office to re-link State Pension rises to the National Average Earnings, having vehemently protested against Margaret Thatcher’s Tories for having broken the link in 1982, thereby eroding its’ purchasing power year on year. It took the Lib Dems in Government to not only re-establish that link, but also to secure the “triple-lock”, thus ensuring that the State pension will rise annually by the higher of the NAE, or CPI or 2.5%
It is also worth noting that there has also been an interesting shift against the predictions of the critics.
According to recent figures, the gap between those from an affluent background and a poor background is closing!
So there are more applying from low income families, could this be because the Liberal Democrats have made it easier to repay student loans with graduates paying less back from their wages?
Simple answer; Yes.
Has the Liberal Democrat presence made a positive difference to this otherwise sorry affair?