Ipswich: UCS students in rowdy London protest against tuition fees
STUDENTS from Ipswich are on the streets of London protesting against plans to increase tuition fees and cut university funding - as fellow protesters smash windows and storm Tory HQ.
Under the government’s proposals the cap on fees will be increased to �6,000, with some universities given the green light to charge up to �9,000 - three times the current cap - in “exceptional circumstances”.
But unions have warned the controversial move will mean the end for affordable university education.
More than 100 University Campus Suffolk (UCS) students have joined thousands on a march through central London today to show their disgust for the plans.
UCS students have signed hundreds of postcards to local MP’s asking them to vote against the proposals in Parliament.
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And later today some students will meet with their MP’s to air their views in person.
The national demonstration, organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU) saw protesters march through the capital before staging a rally in Westminster.
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But the protest has taken an ugly turn with students smashing the windows of Millbank Tower in central London, which houses the Tory Party headquarters, and forcing their way inside.
The building was evacuated.
More than a dozen protesters have reached the roof of 30 Millbank, Tory HQ, and were throwing water and paper on the cheering crowd below.
One policewoman with a bloody wound to her head was led away from the side of the building by two colleagues. A stick was thrown at her as she went.
Earlier today, Andy Speed, president of the UCS Union, said: “These plans are totally unfair.
“A �9,000 price tag and the prospect of a �30,000 debt will put thousands of people off going to university.
“Commercial interest rates set to be introduced on student loans will also mean the poorest will pay more for their education by accumulating thousands in interest than those privileged enough to be able to afford to pay fees up front.”
He warned the plans will result in elite universities charging more than other establishments resulting in only the most well-off in society being able to afford the best university places.
“Even if talented but less well off students do attend, they will end up choosing to attend institutions with lower fees, and not receiving the education they deserve,” he added.
NUS president Aaron Porter added: “We are taking to the streets in unprecedented numbers to tell politicians that enough is enough. We will not tolerate the previous generation passing on its debts to the next, nor will we pick up the bill to access a college and university education that was funded for them.”
“The Government’s short-sighted and self-defeating cuts to colleges and universities must be resisted and that resistance begins now.”
The proposed changes to increase tuition fees - which currently stand at �3,290 a year - has caused political controversy as many Liberal Democrat MP’s, including the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, publicly pledged during the general election campaign not to allow fees to go up.