Angela Rayner is wrong on tuition fees

10th Dec 2019

Claim

Labour did not triple tuition fees.

Conclusion

Incorrect. Labour tripled fees from £1,000 per year to £3,000 per year in 2006 in England and Northern Ireland and in Wales the following year.

“…we didn't triple tuition fees. They were £1,000 under Labour.”

Angela Rayner, 9 December 2019

Yesterday, on the BBC Question Time under-30s special, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price asked Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner to apologise for Labour’s legacy of bringing in university tuition fees.

Ms Rayner said “we didn’t triple tuition fees, they were £1,000 under Labour.”

This is incorrect. Labour did initially introduce tuition fees of £1,000 per year in 1998. These were paid upfront or waived for low-income students.

It then tripled the cap on tuition fees to £3,000 for English and Northern Irish universities in 2006 and in Wales the following year. Repayments were deferred and tuition fee loans made available.

Almost all higher education institutions in England chose to charge the maximum fee in the first year.

Since 2012, first under the Coalition and then the Conservative government, tuition fees have been more than tripled again. Now the maximum is between £9,000 and £9,250 depending on which part of the UK a student is from and which part they are studying in.

Tuition fees are not charged in Scotland for students from Scotland (and have not been since 2000/01) or for those from the EU (outside the UK), and for students from Northern Ireland and the EU studying in Northern Ireland they are £4,395 per year at most.