By Samantha Brady and Craig Alexander
Over 1,500 Scottish students have flocked to join the tens of thousands of English protesters in the London ‘Fund Our Future: Stop Education Cuts’ protest over the proposed university tuition fee rises.
Tuition fees are set to triple for English students and even more for Scottish students attending English Universities.
Liam Burns, President of National Union of Students warns about a potential knock on effect for higher fees in Scotland.
He said: ‘The impact in Scotland will be huge. Increases fees will force Scottish students studying in England into crippling levels of debt and will fuel calls for English students studying in Scotland to pay much higher fees.’
Union leaders had breakfast this morning with former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to discuss concerns about the coalition government’s proposed changes.
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has stated that the fee rises are the ‘right choice for our country’s future’.
He added: ‘Our universities are jewels in our economic crown, and it is clear that if we want to keep our place near the top of the world league tables then we need to reform our system of funding and reject.’
Murray Hope, Senior Vice President of the Heriot Watt University student’s union and National Union of Students executive stresses the importance of a Scottish presence at the London protest today.
‘Today is pivotal for two reasons for Scotland: the battle to keep education free at the point of delivery’, he said.
‘Secondly, the 40% cuts will be pushed onto Scotland to deal with. If you removed health, which has already been ring fenced, education is the most obvious cut. This means bigger class sizes, job losses, course closures, less support, reduced opening hours [and] bursary cuts.’
The protests are set to take place today between 8am and 3pm.