Green lead Euro-candidate to speak tomorrow at Cambridge rally against Government's new student grant cuts: MEDIA RELEASE
Cllr. Dr. Rupert Read, 2009 Green Party prospective MEP for the East, is lending his support to students from Cambridge, Norwich and across the Region protesting against the £100 million cut in student grants, announced by the Universities Secretary John Denham (1) last week. The cuts will affect thousands of students from middle-income families in the East. Cllr. Read described the cuts as 'penny-pinching our students' futures', and instead called for the return of free, universal higher education.
On Wednesday, November 5th students from the University where Dr. Read teaches, the University of East Anglia (Norwich) will be joining students from all over East Anglia to demonstrate in Cambridge over this important issue that affects the wallets of many families here. Dr. Read played a leading role in the (just-unsuccessful) campaign to stop top-up fees being introduced under Charles Clarke, then Education Secretary. Dr. Read will be travelling tomorrow with students from UEA by coach and has been invited to speak at the rally in Cambridge.
Cllr. Read said:
"The Green Party have long campaigned hard against the Government's gradual privatisation of higher and further education funding provision. We will continue to do so until higher education is treated as a human right and not as a privilege to be bought by the wealthiest at the expense of the poorest. Just as children of all parents should get medical treatment on the NHS, so children of all parents shouldn't be charged to continue education past 16.
"Higher and further education is central to the social mobility of a society. The Government makes great claims about giving people the opportunity to better themselves, but by introducing and retaining fees and abolishing student grants it has potentially put some of the brightest off, just because they can't afford to reach 21 and be saddled with thousands of pounds of debt.
"Is it any wonder that a recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on Britain's stiflingly low levels of social mobility led to stinging criticism (2). The report stated that 'what your parents earned when you were a child has much more effect on your own earnings than in more mobile countries'; a damning verdict on our Government's insistence on charging for education.
"The Government is penny-pinching our children's futures."
Notes for editors