Greens: Tories' market in education must be rejected

For immediate release 3 April 2011

Today's renewed arguments about how higher education funding illustrate this election's crucial dividing line, Greens argued. The next Government will either slash public services like education or raise additional revenue. The Tories want to raise it from students themselves, turning education into a market commodity, while Labour, LibDems and SNP have no clear proposals. Only the Greens propose fairer taxation to fund education and avoid leaving students with a lifetime of debt.

Patrick Harvie said:

"Annabel's half right: the SNP, Labour and the Lib Dems have no idea where the money's coming from for their unfunded pledges to students. All three have left a trail of broken promises behind them, hoping each new generation will forget what happened last time. The Tories are at least honest about their plan turn higher education into a market for those who can pay and devil take the hindmost. The Greens have the only credible alternative to that approach, which is to raise revenue fairly to invest in education and public services. Anything else is empty spin and wishful thinking.

"Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems have all tried to look like the students' friend, but because they cannot or will not commit to raising revenue, these pledges are simply not not worth the glossy paper they're written on. This is the same flawed approach which led to a series of let-downs for students and their families over the last fifteen years. Labour themselves scrapped grants for students from poorer backgrounds and introduced tuition fees, the Lib Dems at Westminster have just trebled fees, and the SNP's promise to write off student debt in 2007 was dropped the moment Alex Salmond had their votes in his hand. Only the Greens can be trusted to protect Scotland's higher education system from the oncoming storm of fees, marketisation and cutbacks."