An estimated 2000 students from Wales have today travelled to London to join fellow peers, lecturers and the general public protesting in response to the unjustly tuition fee increases the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition proposed in October this year. Reports of riots and violent scenes within Central London have occurred, with some students turning to the Conservative headquarters to make a symbolic stance against the cuts; burning banners and fighting police officers. Although NUS have stated that they are disappointed with these violent acts, the organised event has been one of the biggest in British history with around 50,000 participants joining. Those who joined the demonstration peacefully aimed to send a message to Westminster.
For many welsh students who may be disillusioned with politics, these coalition cuts are not helping the younger generation feel they can engage in politics. Their needs and wants are being distanced with uncertain futures and broken promises by many politicians, especially those of the Lib Dems who promised scrapping fees altogether in their recent manifesto pledges.
Even though the exact price tag on higher education for Welsh students has not been revealed, those seeking to study in England could be faced with debt up to £40,000.00 which will inevitably impact on the price of tutition fees in Wales. For most, this cost is simply unaffordable, creating an unfair two tier society which could increase further the inequality gap in Wales for years to come. With higher education being cut by about 40% there is uncertainty about the future spending on welsh universities with the possibilities of public spending being hit and university departmental budgets being slashed. The future performance of welsh universities is unknown with the possibility of standards falling across Wales as a result.
For Plaid Cymru the disappointment in the increase of tuition fees is apparent with us striving to create a fair and equal society in Wales which Westminster is increasingly making difficult for us to achieve.Plaid Cymru have made a clear alliance with NUS and SNP on the dissatisfaction of the Browne Proposals and have sent a letter to the business Secretary Vice Cable showing a united front between these nations. Those in the Liberal Democrat party who are intending to abstain from voting in these radical changes,should be ashamed of themselves because merely abstaining the vote will mean the proposal will go through anyway. If all the Fib Dem MP’s vote against tuition fee’s then it wouldn’t go through,