UK Parliament backs tuition fees hike
UK: Britain’s coalition Government Tuesday got through another test
in its bid to hike tuition fees, after the plans were backed by the
upper house of Parliament despite an attempt to block them.
After the proposals scraped through a vote in the lower house last
week, lawmakers in the House of Lords voted comfortably in favour of
raising the cap on fees to 9,000 pounds a year at English universities.
The opposition Labour party submitted amendments which would have
stopped the proposals in their tracks, but these were voted down.
Universities will be allowed to charge the top rate in exceptional
circumstances and the basic level of fees will be set at 6,000 pounds a
year. The current fee cap is 3,290 pounds.
The higher fees are now expected to come into force in 2012. In
Tuesday’s vote, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government’s
plans to almost treble the maximum fee charged were backed by 273
lawmakers against 200. Defeat in the upper house is rare. Before the
vote, government spokesman in the Lords, Oliver Eden, warned backing
Labour’s amendments would be “fatal” to the proposals.
The issue of raising fees was the Conservative-Liberal Democrat
coalition’s biggest test to date, and the government’s majority was
slashed in the lower house vote last week with many Lib Dems voting
against the plans. It exposed deep divisions, particularly within the
Lib Dems, who had pledged to phase out fees before forming a coalition
with Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives following May’s
The policy also sparked outrage among students, who have staged a
series of protests in London with one on Thursday descending into
serious violence as the lower house voted on the matter.
LONDON, Wednesday, AFP