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Clegg apology over Lib Dem tuition fees betrayal will cut no ice in Hull

Diana Johnson MP has dismissed the “opportunist” apology from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg over the Lib Dem broken promise on tuition fees.

The Hull North MP has slammed the Tory-led Government for trebling tuition fees, axing the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), cutting student places and creating chaos in higher education.

In 2010, when the Government voted through the trebling of tuition fees to £9,000, they claimed that these changes would make no difference to students and universities. However, it is now clear from the latest figures that the Coalition’s higher education policies are failing students, universities and colleges.

Applications to university from the Yorkshire and Humber region have fallen by 8.3% compared to last year. Locally in Hull the figures are even worse. Hull College has seen a 15.5% drop in applications and the University of Hull has a massive 18% fall in applications in 2012 compared to 2011.

This will result in tens of thousands of people missing out on the opportunity for a higher education.

Labour has proposed that the Government should cut the tuition fee cap by a third to £6,000, and we would pay for this by scrapping the corporation tax cut on banks and asking the top 10% of graduates to pay more towards. This is fairer and will not disadvantage students from poorer backgrounds.

Diana Johnson MP said: “Nick Clegg’s opportunist apology for Lib Dem broken promises on tuition fees will cut no ice in Hull. Nick Clegg should also say sorry for other Lib Dem broken promises – for example slashing Humberside police numbers to a 33 year low, 27% flood defence cuts, NHS privatisation, frozen army pay and the VAT increase.

"The pledge to freeze tuition fees was not just in the small print of the Lib Dem manifesto. It was Nick Clegg's flagship election promise, made in full knowledge of the deficit, when he asked people to vote Lib Dem in 2010.

“It’s now clear that tripled tuition fees and the axing of EMA is doing damage to the most disadvantaged young people and further education in places such as Hull. The University of Hull has seen a huge 18% fall in applications, compared to last year, and Hull College is down by 15.5%

“Instead of crying crocodile tears Nick Clegg should vote with Labour for our plan to bring these tuition fees down. On past form, I doubt that he will have the courage to do so.”