Lincoln MP hints at support for higher fees

Karl McCartney, Lincoln’s Tory MP, has hinted that he supports raising the cap on tuition fees.

In an interview with The Linc, McCartney was asked whether in light of Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, saying a cap would remain on tuition fees, if he would support raising fees.

Karl McCartney says he has been lobbied "a bit" by Lincoln students on higher education. Photo: Candi Hindocha

He said: “I’m pleased there will be one, however, let’s take it in the round… and say that we all know university funding and students’ personal financing has to change, unfortunately. That’s because of the economic situation we’re in, but also the huge increase in student numbers – which is a good thing – but it’s also something that can’t be unfunded. You have to look at the totality of the cost and say who pays for that.”

When pressed on whether he’d support increasing the fees cap, he said: “With higher fees has to come a better teaching experience for anybody who’s actually paying… that’s making sure you get value for money.”

The Browne review allows severe cuts to funding of arts degrees, which comprise most of the University of Lincoln’s course portfolio. If the government accepts these parts of the review, the university may face heavy cuts — meaning cutting courses.

Asked of his stance on cuts to arts degrees, McCartney said: “Various courses are going to come under pressure because they’re going to have to be seen to be, not just as value for money, but because their’s going to be a cross-benefit analysis for every course, I think.

“If it’s a good course, being taught by good lecturers, leading to a good degree then I don’t think they have anything to worry about.”

He added that he’d been in conversation with the university’s management and that they “understand it’s going to be a difficult operating time” but that “they have every confidence the university will carry on, as it has done since its inception, going from strength to strength”.

Students have been lobbying McCartney “a bit” and he has been in contact with Chris Charnley, president of Lincoln Students’ Union.

“I’ve had other students who have emailed me, tweeted to me, called me up on the phone, and some letters… I’ve had more correspondence on the BBC being cut… [but] it’s up there in the top ten things I’ve been lobbied about since being elected in May,” he said.

Given the nature of student populations, most of those currently studying in Lincoln are unlikely to be his constituents at the next general election. However, McCartney said there is a “distinct possibility” of the coalition failing and so a general election may come sooner than we expect.

“They [Lincoln students] are a transient population, but at the same time it’s 10,000 people… They are very important to me, not just on student finance and university funding, but on a whole range of issues. The fact is, as I say, there are 10,000 student constituents of mine who I’m lucky enough to have, and they make up a large population of Lincoln and the electorate.

“Some of my best campaginers were students.”

He also acknowledges that many students and young people in his constituency are in schools, colleges, and sixth forms, so will also be looking to him.

2 Responses to Lincoln MP hints at support for higher fees

  1. David Young says:

    Did he actually say “cross-benefit analysis”? It could be a typo, but I wouldn’t put it past him…

  2. I’ll get my hands on the audio again and double-check – but I’m confident that’s what he said as it’s what I have transcribed.