Parliament has voted to treble the cap on university tuition fees to £9,000 per year.
323 MPs – including many Liberal Democrats who had signed a pledge to oppose higher fees – voted for the coalition’s proposals. 302 voted against.
A second vote passed a lower cap of £6,000 per year. This means if any universities wish to charge students more than £6k, up to the higher limit of £9k, they must have extra provisions for the poorest students.
The government is planning to scale back state funding of the higher education teaching grant by around 80%.
While opposing benches fought in the House of Commons, student protesters outside of parliament clashed with police. According to the Metropolitan Police, eight police officers and thirteen protesters are injured. Nine people have been arrested — two for assault on police, one drunk and disorderly, six violent disorder.
There has been a series of demonstrations in Lincoln against education cuts. Currently there is an ongoing occupation of the room MB1019 at the University of Lincoln by people angry at the cuts.
The occupiers have laid a lengthy list of demands, including “that the university ends the casualisation of its teaching staff. All workers to be offered full contracts and employee status” and “the immediate re-instatement of EMA, for all further education students”.
A unanimous decision was reached by those taking part to continue the occupation “indefinitely”.
A statement from the university said it “supports students’ right to peaceful protest” but that it will “ensure that timetables and teaching are not disrupted”.
Lincoln Students’ Union said: “The union will always stand by and support its students’ right to peaceful protest. Students have outlined our stance on the education debate relating to fees and cuts, which are in line with the reasoning behind and demands set by those occupying on the university campus, and we fully support their peaceful action.”
Karl McCartney, Lincoln’s Tory MP, voted for the coalitions proposals, despite continued lobbying by many Lincoln students. In a statement, he said: “I know the policy put forward by the coalition government is unpopular with some students in the City and I can understand why.
“However, to maintain or increase student numbers, deal with the financial mess that has been inherited from the Labour Government – who introduced these fees – and ensure universities like the one in our City remains first class, there is unfortunately little alternative. In today’s financial environment, the taxpayer is not an everlasting piggy bank.”Tweet