Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Top-up fees all round

The Assembly Government have today made it official: Welsh students in Welsh universities will have to pay top-up fees like everyone else (by the way, if you ever wonder why voters are turned off by politics spend an hour of your day watching a Plenary session on – quite quite boring).

Jane Hutt made the announcement today, broadly welcomed by Labour, the Conservatives and Plaid it seemed but she faced fierce opposition from Bethan Jenkins and Leanne Wood who are (as previously reported) quite disgruntled by the abandonment of a policy which, they say, universally benefits the young people of Wales by seeing to it that they get a free education (much like almost every Assembly member other than Ms Jenkins as the lady herself pointed out...)

The Lib Dems also weren't best pleased. Jenny Randerson said that there was no longer any incentive for Welsh students to stay in the country and we'll be losing all their talents...

Ministers were resolute though. The Government's policy is that the previous system didn't really benefit everyone because giving away money unconditionally to everyone in Wales meant that not all of the money was going to those who need it most, those who can't afford to go to University anyway, and that's where the money will be going now.

So (putting aside party politics on this issue for one moment) are the Assembly Government the saviours or the sinners on the issue of higher education funding?

Dewi Tri



Anonymous said...

What is Plaid Cymru for? Propping up Labour in Wales. Well done Bethan and Leanne and Randerson for her wise words.....

Anonymous said...

Firstly let me say that I completely agree with you on your first point... I spent 2 hours watching today and almost fell asleep! Not only was I pleased to see Bethan and Leanne sticking to their principles, but they livened up what was a really boring session as well.

Jane Hutt really hasn't got a clue; the department in all areas is falling down - slippery slope to the state she left the health portfolio in.

What planet is the Minister on right now? Statements and survey results from UCU and UUK all slating top-up fees; the UK group of NUS have been lobbying MPs today over the lifting of the cap and Jane Hutt brings them in!!

Students get offered a £1500 "debt write off" when they'll be £4000 worse off in the first place. A debt write-off to me would be getting rid of the whole thing!

Clueless, clueless, clueless.