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Lib Dems accuse Labour of betraying electorate

January 27, 2004 7:43 PM

Liz Lynne MEP.West Midlands MPs who voted through the top-up fees bill tonight will now have to explain to the 28,500 students in the region why they have broken a manifesto pledge according to West Midlands Euro-MP Liz Lynne.

The Liberal Democrat MEP also accused Labour MPs of saddling students with thousands of pounds of debt Speaking following tonight's vote she said:

"Labour MPs have tonight betrayed the people who elected them by breaking a clear manifesto pledge."

"It is now clear if people want Universities properly funded but don't want students saddled with up to £35,000 of debt the only party they can vote for is the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives, by their own admission, have no policies for funding Universities, while Labour, since they have been in office, have piled more and more debt on to students."

Tim Hodgson, Chair of West Midlands Liberal Democrat Youth & Students added:

"Students have been badly let down not once but twice now by the Labour Government. They said in 1997 they had no plans to introduce tuition fees, only months later they scrapped the maintenance grant and introduced tuition fees. In 2001 they said they would not introduce top up fees and had legislated to prevent them, once again they turned their back on a promise. The post-graduation repayment system will impose what amounts to a higher marginal rate of income tax than the rate paid by a millionaire on those least able to pay."

"Labour since 1997 have also cut benefits to young people, failed to restore housing benefit taken away by the Conservatives and exploited young workers by introducing a lower minimum wage for those under 21. Is it any wonder that students and young people see the Liberal Democrats as the only party who will stand up for them."

For further information, comment or to book an interview, please telephone Liz Lynne on 0032 2284 7521 (Brussels) or 077644 52725 (mobile) or Press Officer Stuart Ritchie on 01789 266354 or 07833668158(mobile).