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UCU and NUS set out next steps in campaign against education funding cuts

30 November 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU and the National Union of Students (NUS) have today set out their plans for the next stage in their joint campaign against education funding cuts and plans to raise university fees to £9,000 a year.

  • Protests at universities across the country on the day prior to the student funding vote in Parliament
  • Mass lobby of MPs on the day itself followed by a rally in Westminster
  • A 'candlelit' vigil during the evening of vote with 9,000 'candles' to represent potential fees

The organisations' plans centre around action in the lead up to the vote in Parliament on government plans to triple university fees and slash university teaching budgets. Peaceful protests are planned across the country on the day before the vote, MPs will be lobbied on the day of the vote and there will be a rally in London on the day as well. Protestors will then hold a 'candlelit vigil' with 9,000 candles to represent the potential level of annual fees if the proposals get Parliamentary approval.

Since the organisations' joint demonstration on Wednesday 10 November there has been an unprecedented level of student activism against devastating cuts to education, the axing of the education maintenance allowance (EMA), the proposed trebling of tuition fees and now the proposed abolition of AimHigher.

The day of the vote on higher fees is not yet known, but UCU and NUS are putting plans in motion to ensure there are huge protests across the country to focus MPs' attention on the damage the proposals would do. Both organisations will take the plans to their executive committees this week for final approval.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We need to expose these shabby and devastating proposals and the damage they will do to our universities, colleges and communities. The march of 10 November organised by NUS and UCU has transformed the politics of higher education and placed the coalition's fees policy under heightened scrutiny.

'Further protests today coupled with hints of ministerial u-turns mean we must keep the pressure up ahead of the vote and on the day itself. MPs must be left in no doubt of the strength of opposition to these plans and the consequences of voting for them.'

NUS president, Aaron Porter, said: 'The joint NUS and UCU march that brought together 50,0000 people on 10 November has provided the spur to a new wave of activism and lobbying, placing the Government's policy on fees and student support policy under huge pressure. We will continue to work with UCU to ensure that students, lecturers parents and our communities keep that pressure up as the vote approaches. MPs can be left in no doubt as to the widespread public opposition to these plans or of the consequences of steamrollering them through Parliament.

'For the third time in less than a month thousands of students have taken to the streets to protest against the Government's attacks on further and higher education. Despite repeated dismissals by Nick Clegg that these are uninformed protesters, students are intelligent, articulate people who are not being listened to by those in whom they placed their hope for a different politics.'