Reports from UCAS that University applications have risen by 3.5% this year are a clear demonstration that Labour’s attempts to undermine the improvements to the fees system introduced by Lib Dem Business Secretary, Vince Cable, have failed.
The continuing trend of more young people from poorer background going to university, with people from disadvantaged backgrounds being 80% more likely to attend a higher education institution, marks an end to years of social immobility under Labour in what is seen as a major step in creating a fairer and more liberal society.
The Liberal Democrat changes to tuition fees are a vast improvement on the old Labour system. The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the poorest 29% of students were better off under the new system and that it was “substantially more progressive” than the old Labour system as the richest students were likely to pay back ten times as much as the poorest students.
The increase in applications can be seen as a testament to the work of Liberal Democrats in government to creating a fairer and more equal society and in overhauling the failed system that was created by the last Labour government.
For many of the 29% poorest students not only is the amount of tuition fee they pay less than they paid under Labour thanks to a generous national scholarship and local bursaries, but they are also able to get a lot more support with living costs.
Liberal Democrats believe that the key to ending poverty in this country is to enable people to earn a decent living by getting a good education or apprenticeship. That is why the new tuition fees system, alongside the Youth Contracts, the massive increase in apprenticeships and the pupil premium targetted at the poorest children in our society are all so important to realising the Liberal Democrat ambition of ending poverty, ignorance and conformity in our society.