Saturday, 16 April 2011

Will Plaid Cymru sign a pledge on tuition fees?

The Welsh Conservatives we are told wrote their manifesto with coalition in mind. It lays down policies that they won’t or can’t change in any subsequent negotiation for a possible coalition government.

One such issue I suspect is student tuition fees, it’s not surprising that the Conservatives are promoting a similar policy to the one they are implementing in England.

Their welsh policy is:

"Implement a fair and sustainable fees system for Higher Education in Wales. Universities will be permitted to raise fees to a maximum of £9,000 subject to WAG approval.

Establish a hardship fund, to help the most disadvantaged students. Bursaries will be linked to basic entrepreneurship training to cultivate an enterprising mind–set in our students."

Plaid Cymru, a possible coalition partner to the Conservatives after May 5, have a very different policy on student tuition and is as follows:

"A Plaid Government will meet the extra cost of top-up fees for Welsh domiciled students, whether they study in Wales or elsewhere within the UK. We will not support any further increases in tuition fees for our higher education students and we will seek the abolition of tuition fees as and when public finances allow."

The question is a familiar one that faced Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats when they joined the Conservative led coalition UK government.

It will be interesting to see, should the results make a rainbow coalition government possible in Wales, whether this is one of the policies that Plaid Cymru are also willing to abandon?

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