“Fees have failed”: student demonstrators take to the streets to fight the “trebling and trebling” of tuition fees

Student protestors at 2011 demonstration pic: Billy Rowlinson, flickr

Student protestors at 2011 demonstration pic: Billy Rowlinson, flickr

Thousands of students will march in London tomorrow protesting against fees, cuts and debts in UK education.

The march, organised by The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, The Young Greens and The Students Assembly Against Austerity, will congregate in Malet Street, Bloomsbury and proceed to Whitehall and Parliament Square.

Demonstrators will rally under banners entitled “Free Education: No fees. No cuts. No debt” in opposition to what the campaigners have called “the government’s programme of fees and privatisation in education”.

Student groups supporting the protest hope that the march will “provide a spark for further action”.

The march coincides with recent concerns regarding the rate at which university debts will be repaid. The higher education commission warned today that many graduates will be unable to repay fees by the end of the 30 year repayment period.

The HEC, an independent body, have said that the current system offers students “the worst of both worlds”.

Beth Redmond, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, supported the demonstration, saying: “Four years on from the election of the Coalition, it is clear that fees have failed. Whole areas of higher and further education are now off limits to anyone without rich parents, and education workers are being squeezed, sacked and outsourced.”

“We are calling this demonstration to take the fight to the government and to demand a public education system that serves society and is free and accessible to everyone.”

Aaron Kiely, from the Student Assembly Against Austerity, said: “The Coalition’s austerity agenda sees more value in dropping bombs than building homes – more value in big business than the NHS. When the Tories say there is not enough money for free education, they are lying.”

“The trebling and trebling again of tuition fees has not only kicked away the ladder of opportunity – it’s also losing the government billions of pounds. Germany has proved only this year that there is an alternative – if they can scrap tuition fees, then so can our government.”

At the beginning of the month the National Union of Students controversially withdrew their support from the demonstration saying that it will pose “an unacceptable level of risk” to their members.

NUS also raised concerns that the demonstration will not be accessible to all students, “in particular disabled students” and that there is “no public liability insurance in place”.

“Free Education National Student Demo” will begin at 12pm tomorrow in Bloomsbury and finish in Parliament Square at around 4pm.

Eastlondonlines will be live blogging the event, tweet your student protest pictures and comments with the hashtag #ELLstudentdemo.

By Alex Sims and Alex Taylor

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