Tue 22 Mar, 2011

For immediate use Tuesday 22 March 2011

The Scottish Greens welcomed today's march to Holyrood by thousands of students aiming to ensure that higher education in Scotland - and its funding - receives top billing in the forthcoming election campaign for the Scottish Parliament.

Although both the SNP and Labour have now committed not to reintroduce tuition fees or a graduate contribution, only the Scottish Greens are going further and setting out concrete proposals to provide proper funding for universities and students' living costs.

Patrick Harvie MSP, who addressed today's student march outside Holyrood, said:

"Students should be reassured that the Scottish Greens will make protecting free higher education a key part of our election campaign. The other political parties have still not done the maths on how the money would be raised, and all of them have a track record of failure on higher education funding, from Labour's introduction of fees, the Tories and Lib Dems decision to treble them at a UK level last year, and the SNP's empty promise to abolish debt.

"The Scottish Greens have done the sums, though, and we believe graduates already contribute through the tried and tested method called income tax. We should be under no illusions on this point. Education supports the common good, and Scottish Greens believe that means paying for it collectively through fairer taxation, not detering students from poorer backgrounds."

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