1. Joint open statement by the LSE Students' Union, University and College Union (UCU), and Howard Davies (Director of the LSE) against the cuts, fees, and the attack on the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

2. No victimisation of Students or Lecturers involved in the occupation or any protests against the cuts.

Sign the Petition in Support

Read our public statement, here.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The cockiness of Universities Minister David Willetts

We strongly object to David Willetts' utterances with regard to a new scheme to fund poor students’ first and maybe even second year at university as patronising and deceptive. The scheme would purportedly bring with it the state paying one year's fees of any student eligible for free school meals who is accepted for a place at university. On top of that, universities charging more than £6,000 a year in fees would be required to fund a further year's tuition for these students.

However, the funding for this scheme would come from the £150m National Scholarship Programme, which is money already set aside for education. There will be no additional funds made available by the government for education – instead money will just be re-distributed. This might be acceptable if it was at least a top-down re-distribution, yet it is particularly poor students who are targeted by the scholarship programmes. Thus, the scheme amounts to giving students on one side what has been taken away from them on the other side. The exact amount of money, which will be used to cover poor students’ tuition fees, will be withdrawn from the scholarship programmes. For poor students, thus, the balance breaks even.

Against this backdrop, the scheme presented by Willetts in order to make rising tuition fees palatable appears to us just as another attempt of window-dressing. We are disgusted and appalled in view of the government’s audacity to force through their devastating reforms for the education and public sector, underscored by comments such as “[t]here is absolutely no reason why students that are worried should have any genuine concerns about the proposals” (David Willetts).[1] Such statements will not quiet us down – on the contrary, they will fuel our determination to fight.


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