"Today’s announcement from the Labour-Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Government regarding tuition fees comes as what can only be described as a relief for students and prospective students like myself especially. One Wales has shown the value of devolution this afternoon, in declaring that Welsh students will not have to pay any more than £3,290 a year for their Higher Education – wherever they study in the UK.
"Students who are currently in University and who will go to University next year will not be affected by the announcement, meaning that they will still pay £3,290, but today’s news will affect 2012/13 students who would otherwise have to pay upwards of £6,000 for their HE – thanks very much to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in London.
"This move from WAG really does show our commitment to HE here in Wales, and more than that: that we believe in our young people and believe that they don’t deserve such extortionate costs. Supporters of the ConDems’ plans ask why it matters – we don’t repay until after graduation anyway! Let me tell you: if I went into Uni knowing that I would leave with £30,000 or £40,000 worth of debt, I really would question whether it’s worth it.
"The difference between Cardiff Bay and Westminster is that we here in Wales have made the right decision to make it possible for students and prospective students to what is right for them in the long-run.
'We have a responsibility to Welsh-domiciled students, wherever they choose to study. We also have a responsibility to ensure that Wales benefits, economically, socially and culturally, from the investment that the Assembly Government makes in higher education in Wales.'
"That’s what our Education Minister Leighton Andrews AM had to say today. He’s darned right. A strong and accessible HE sector will benefit our country in more ways than simply meaning that more people can afford to go to Uni. What Wales needs is a strong, forward-looking and innovative economy, and a good HE sector will stand us in good stead for achieving that.
"Plaid is proud of its socialist principles and so am I. I am proud to be a citizen of a country whose government cares; whose government recognises its responsibility to ensure that education is indeed a right and not a privilege.
"Of course, on that note, we’re not quite there, but CymruX is committed to fighting for free HE because we believe that a cost of even £3,290 shouldn’t stop anyone from going to University. (Naturally, if cuts weren’t coming from every angle thanks to David and Co. that’d be a rather more realistic aim.)
"For now though, we are happy with the best that’s on offer: fairness. Something that Wales can offer, and the ConDems seem not yet to have grasped. Will they ever? Doubt it.
Diolch, Leighton, a diolch, Llywodraeth Cymru.
Thank you, Leighton, and thank you, Welsh Government.
To read the Welsh Assembly Government’s statement on-line, go to the Welsh Assembly Government's website.
And remember that you can now follow @yesforwales and @iedrosgymru on Twitter, as well as add a Yes4Wales badge to your Twitter and Facebook avatars. More powers for Wales next March combined with a successful election for us means more fairness and indeed more actions like today’s!