The Labour party has been exposed for “wholesale hypocrisy” on tuition fees – after announcing a hike above and beyond £9,000 for students in Wales, despite promising to scrap them during the General Election campaign just a few weeks ago.

Welsh Labour specifically stood on a manifesto promise that “there should be no tuition fees” but has proceeded with the increased levy on education regardless. UK Labour’s manifesto also specifically stated “we will abolish university tuition fees”.

The SNP has condemned Labour for failing to live up to their promises to stand up for students by scrapping these regressive charges which present a barrier to opportunity.

Labour introduced £1,000 tuition fees in 1997, before trebling them. These were increased further still under the Tories and Lib Dems to £9,000. Labour in Wales is proposing an additional increase to £9,295.

The SNP made free university tuition universally available to Scottish students in 2008 and will maintain free tuition while in government.

Ruth Maguire MSP, who sits on Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee, said:

“Labour are all talk during election campaigns – and this latest episode exposes their wholesale hypocrisy on tuition fees.

Where they have the powers in government, instead of using them to scrap exorbitant £9,000 fees, they’ve betrayed students and young people by adding a surcharge.

But this isn’t anything new. Labour have a murky record when it comes to tuition fees – they introduced them in the first place, have broken umpteen promises when it comes to further student support and are again gearing up to hammer students.

And this is deeply embarrassing for Kezia Dugdale. On the same day she launches a policy targeting young people, it’s plain to see what Labour will actually do when they get into office – by robbing them of opportunies.

Scottish students know that with the SNP, no matter what their circumstances are, their education, and their chance to achieve their potential, will always be based on the ability to learn – not their ability to pay.

And with an SNP government the number of people from our most deprived communities going on to achieve a university qualification has increased.

We will continue to prioritise education – the most important investment we can make in our future – while Labour sell-out on their supposed values and impose prohibitive costs on students.”

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