Labour pledge to abolish tuition fees from this autumn

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Labour have said that, should they win the upcoming election, their pledge to scrap tuition fees would be bought forward to this autumn.

The party have also revealed that any students that are already part-way through their courses would not be required to pay fees for their remaining years of study.

The cost has already been factored into the party’s £9.5bn annual bill for removing tuition fees.

The Conservatives claim that more working-class students were going to university than ever before, while the Lib Dems say that the ending of tuition fees would benefit better-off students significantly more than those from poorer backgrounds.

The initial announcement of the abolishment of tuition fees came in the Labour manifesto that was released last week. However, the party are now giving more detail in an attempt to appeal to young first-time voters.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, told BBC Breakfast that graduates now face debts of around £44,000, which she calls a “gut-wrenching” amount of money.

Rayner says that, if the UK’s wealthiest people paid “just a little bit more”, Labour will be able to “stop our young people from going through that hell of having that much debt”.

Ms Rayner said: “You’ve got young people, regardless of their wealth, that are leaving university after working hard, they’ve finally got their degrees, they’re going into their job for the first time, junior doctors etcetera, and they’re saddled with debt for years and years.

“Whether they pay back that debt or not, if you’ve ever had a huge amount of debt hanging over your head you know how that feels.”

Labour has also promised to reinstate maintenance grants in order to cover living costs and said that the decision to removes fees would protect those who have already graduated from interest rises in the future.

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said that he didn’t know how labour would fund their policy, and claims it is the “wrong choice”.

Before the 2010 election, the Lib Dems, under Clegg’s leadership, made a commitment not to raise tuition fees but infamously reneged on this pledge while in a coalition government, which saw the party criticised and is thought to be one of the key factors behind their embarrassing performance in the 2015 election.