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YouGov poll reveals Scottish Lib Dems MSP candidates will suffer if MPs vote for higher fees

7 December 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

A YouGov poll found that Liberal Democrat candidates for next May's Scottish Parliament election will be punished at the polls should their Westminster counterparts vote for higher tuition fees in England.

The poll, commission by NUS Scotland and UCU Scotland, found that of those who voted Liberal Democrat in the General Election, 49% would be less likely to back them again in the Scottish Elections should they back an increase in fees.

It also found that 68% of respondents who have not yet decided how they will vote in the Scottish Parliament Elections would be less likely to vote for a Liberal Democrat candidate should Liberal Democrat MPs abstain or vote in favour of higher tuition fees.

The poll also revealed good news for Scottish Liberal Democrat candidates should their fellow MPs vote against higher tuition fees, with 47% of those undecided voters stating they would be more likely to vote Lib Dem in the Scottish elections should Liberal Democrats MPs vote against £9,000 tuition fees.

Other results from the polling:

  • 52% opposed the Governments plans to raise tuition fees, with only a third supporting the proposals;
  • 60% of Scots who voted Liberal Democrat in the General Elections oppose the increase in fees;
  • 81% of all Scots think that Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs should vote against the Government's proposals or abstain.

Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said:
'Before the General Election, every single Liberal Democrat MP signed a pledge to 'vote against any increase in tuition fees'. The people of Scotland have sent a clear message to Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs that a vote for trebling tuition fees would be a vote against their Holyrood colleagues. Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament have a strong record when it comes to student issues, but this reputation is in danger of being tarnished by their Westminster counterparts.

'The fee increase would mean over £40,000 of debt for any Scottish students wanting to study in England and a drastic reduction in public spending on education down south which would slash the Scottish Government's current budget. The proposed changes to loan arrangements will strip tens of millions from the student support budget in Scotland which we already know is inadequate, and higher fees elsewhere will fuel calls for English students who vote in Scotland to pay much higher fees to avoid a cross border flow of 'fee refugees'. These proposals are bad news for Scotland

'Tavish Scott, as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland, must publicly call for his MPs to vote 'no' on Thursday. If he doesn't, Scottish students will feel deeply let down. Come the Scottish Parliament elections next May, if Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs don't vote against this rise in fees, students, families and the wider public will remember.'

Lesley McIntosh, UCU Scotland President said:
'Scotland's lecturers are clear that voting in higher tuition fees in England would be hugely damaging north of the border. Along with NUS Scotland, we sent over 2,000 students and lecturers to march against these proposals through the streets of London. Over 31,000 emails have been sent to Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs through www.voteagainstfees.com asking them to protect students in Scotland. The people of Scotland could not be clearer that MPs should vote 'no' on Thursday if they want to keep the trust of their constituents.'