Stephen Timms, Member of Parliament for East Ham, today addressed an emergency general meeting with students and staff at the University of East London’s Docklands campus.

The meeting came a day before a crucial vote in the House of Commons over the Government’s plans to treble tuition fees to over £9,000.  Speaking at the meeting, Mr Timms said:

“Of course, the deficit needs to be addressed.  But, for some extraordinary reason, the coalition Government has singled out higher education.  The cut across the board is 11%.  But the university teaching grant is being cut by 80%.  Trebling student fees will not even give universities more money.  It will simply make up for this enormous cut.

"Unlike some, I did not sign the NUS pledge before the election.  I did not take the view that there should be no increase at all in fees.  But trebling fees seems to me completely indefensible.  And Ed Miliband has been right – supported now by Alan Johnson – that we should develop the idea of a graduate tax as an alternative.

"I support public funding for higher education – public funding is proposed to be scrapped completely for arts and humanities teaching.  Higher education funding should be jointly between participants and the Government.  It is a terrible mistake to be loading the entire costs on students alone.  That’s why I support the students’ campaign, and why I shall be voting against the Government’s proposals in the House of Commons tomorrow.”

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AuthorStephen Timms