For immediate release 12 March 2011
Today's claim by the SNP that they will not u-turn on fees if re-elected is simply not credible, Greens today argued. First, they have no plan to pay for higher education, and remain committed simply to passing on the Tory cuts to Scottish public services. Second, Alex Salmond deceived students before, in 2007 when he pledged to abolish student debt, a policy they dropped as soon as they took office.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
"Many people fell for the SNP pledge to scrap student debt in 2007, and once again the Nats have got no idea how to fund their big bogus student giveaway. A pompous phrase from Alex Salmond can't hide the fact that only the Greens are prepared to say where the money would come from - raising revenue on the wealthiest and big business.
"That pledge in 2007 wasn't in the small print, either. It was one of their seven key pledges, and it was just as empty then as today's hot air.
"It's not just the SNP: none of the other parties have any credibility here either. Labour first introduced fees, and voted to retain them in 2008, along with the Tories. And the idea that anyone will trust the Lib Dems on this is laughable given the extraordinary scale of their betrayal at a UK level."
The pledge was on p6 of the 2007 SNP manifesto:
Smarter: Scotland can be smarter. It’s time for more opportunities for young Scots with smaller class sizes and it’s time to dump student debt.