The government is wrong to increase the amount students pay for university, and wrong in the way it has done it.
A new term is supposed to be an exciting time. Family cars are being loaded up and driven off to halls. Freshers fairs are opening their doors at redbrick institutions, in the plate glass dream seats of learning, at Oxbridge and in the post-1992 institutions, including at the University of West London in my own seat. But it is also an anxious time—not least because the fee regime to which current undergraduates are subjected is continually, and stealthily, changing. Not only have fees trebled since 2010, but in the two years I’ve been an MP, changes have also been smuggled in by the back door.
While parliament has sat late to discuss Henry VIII powers in relation to Brexit—the way this government has acted like an absolutist monarch in bypassing the whole House of Commons in important legislation by favouring shady committees—we have seen similar processes deployed in relation to student fees since 2015. Take the Teaching Excellence Framework, which seems to be another device to inflate fees, or the worsening terms for student loans, which mean repayments have gone up since students took them out, moving the goalposts after the game has started.