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Liberal Democrats guilty of 'flip-flopping' over fees, says union

12 October 2010 | last updated: 14 March 2019

UCU today warned the Liberal Democrats that voters will never trust them again if they support the Browne Review of Higher Education.

Responding to this afternoon's speech by Vince Cable, the union accused the business secretary of flip flopping on the issue of university funding after he appeared to throw his weight behind the report, despite previously signing a pledge against higher fees.
 
The news comes just days after Vince Cable sent a letter saying he was opposed to a pure graduate tax after months of campaigning for a graduate contribution. Today's decision to back the Browne review is the party's fourth different position on student funding in just six months:
 
April Nick Clegg sets out the Liberal Democrats' position, calls £7,000-a-year fees a 'disaster' and says his party are anti-student debt and will scrap fees. Daily Telegraph website
 
May Vince Cable sets out his idea of a graduate tax. BBC website
 
Sunday Vince Cable says he now thinks a graduate tax is a bad idea.
 
Today Vince Cable backs the Browne Review (which calls for no cap on fees).
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The Liberal Democrats campaigned hard at the election against fees, and they cannot renege on that promise to voters if they wish to retain any credibility. Both Vince Cable and Nick Clegg signed a pledge against fees and if they turn their back on this they will never be trusted again.
 
'If all it takes is five months in government for the Liberal Democrat leadership to be so at odds with the public, this doesn't bode well for the future.  Families who aspire for their children to go to university are not interested in flip-flopping, u-turns, coalition infighting or whether the latest idea is called a tax, loan or fee, they know full well it means debt.  They will rightly feel betrayed if the Liberal Democrats acquiesce in increasing the cost of university.'

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