The Labour Campaign for Free Education was set up in April 2014. It brings together Labour members to campaign for free, accessible, and publicly funded education, to be paid for by taxing the rich and big business. We want to push the case for free education in CLPs, Labour Clubs, Young Labour groups, affiliated trade unions and all other areas of the labour movement.
The current regime of tuition fees and student loans has been exposed as a failure. The system has reached breaking point. The government is now approaching the point at which it begins to lose more money than it saves. Not only are graduates facing a lifetime of student debt, but the higher education sector is facing cuts, privatisation and marketisation. Tuition fees have made education a commodity, to be purchased by individual consumers for their own benefit.
We believe that education is a public good, which benefits society as a whole. It should be paid for through general taxation, with the rich paying the most. We reject other mechanisms to make individuals pay for education, such as the “graduate tax”, which undermine universalism and perpetuate the idea that education is an individual privilege and not a social right.
Since 1996, with only one exception, the National Union of Students (NUS) has not supported free education as it ditched the policy to help Blair introduce tuition fees. In April 2014, delegates passed policy for free education to be paid for by cracking down on tax evasion and avoidance, taxing the rich, and taking the wealth of the banks under democratic control.
As we enter a general election in 2015 where higher education funding will be high on the agenda, we think the time is now to push the case for free education within the Labour Party and our movement as a whole.
To get involved, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org