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Redbridge students will be ‘scared off’ by tuition fee rise, says MP

PUBLISHED: 12:52 08 November 2010 | UPDATED: 22:14 08 November 2010

MP Mike Gapes with Wes Streeting - then NUS president - and the election pledge

MP Mike Gapes with Wes Streeting - then NUS president - and the election pledge

Archant

STUDENTS in Redbridge could be scared off going to university by soaring tuition fees, an MP has claimed.

Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, said he would be sticking by a pledge he signed before the general election to vote against any rise in tuition fees.

His promise comes after an announcement that universities may be allowed to charge up to £9,000 a year for courses, under new government plans.

The fees would not include living costs, which can rise to around £5,000 a year, meaning some graduates could shoulder debts of £40,000.

Mr Gapes said: “Many young people would be scared stiff about going to university with that level of money involved.

“It’s an unbelievable sum.

“It’s outrageous to say if you’re very poor you won’t have to pay but then if you’re very rich you can afford not take the loan out anyway.

“It’s the people in the middle who will get clobbered.”

The Cambridge graduate, who said he would never have been able to go to university without government financial help, warned the plans might also put off youngsters who, like himself, were the first in their families to go to university.

The pledge to vote against a fee rise was drawn up by the National Union of Students.

Former president and now Chadwell Cllr Wes Streeting called on all MPs to stick by the pledge.

He said: “Proposals to treble student fees would see students leaving university with eye watering debts, with some poorer students priced out of universities charging the highest fees altogether.”

Ilford North MP Lee Scott, who also signed the pledge said he could not confirm how he would vote on the plans as they had not yet been put before parliament and could change.

But he said he “still had the same concerns” over fees.


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