Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Nick Clegg makes a desperate plea To students: “look before you leap into protests”

Why pay more to go to university?

Well according to the liberal democrats, and the conservative party. They think, increasing the tuition fees to £9,000 would be beneficial towards young people, who are currently at university or planning to go.

This change would only benefit political parties themselves.

This morning (24/11/10) Nick Clegg stated:

“Examine our proposals before taking to the streets. Listen and look before you march and shout.under the new plans, many of the lowest income graduates would repay less than they do under the current system. Nobody will pay a penny back until their earnings reach £21,000 per year, compared to £15,000 now. The highest-earning graduates will pay back the most.”

The proposal which has been made by the liberal democrats does NOT benefit students in any way what so ever.

They feel as though increasing the amount you earn, before you start paying the loan money back, would be beneficial to all?

In actual fact, this means that students would be indebt for a longer period of time. Also if students have to pay less every month, this also means that they would be stuck in an on going barrier of debt, which would take a extensive time to pay back.

So who is this really benefiting?

Students or politicians?

Let us no what you think!

Ismael Hinds

Monday, 15 November 2010

NUS Student Protest: You Had To Be There

From the beginning, I knew it was going to be one hell of a long day.

On Wednesday the 10th November 2010, students from all around the UK boarded coaches and other assorted means of public transport to join as one group, in order to protest against rising tuition fees.

Being a current student at Teesside University in the North East of England, this meant setting off in our convoy of 3 privately hired coaches at the unholy time of 5:15am - there was plenty of time within our exhausting 6 hour journey to London to catch up on our missed sleep.

Our arrival in London instantly replaced our fatigue with a new sense of excitement and anticipation. As our coach parked by the Victoria Embankment we could see many other students who had also decided to join the cause, all walking alongside the River Thames on their way to the start of the march.


With over 50,000 students present, the march took a while to get some movement going. In the meantime this gave me perfect opportunity for me have a look at all the signs and banners brought along.

The most common signs gave a direct and simple message about the injustice of education cuts.


There were also a variety of very light hearted and comical signs, like this 'kitten' sign.


I also saw one hastily scrabbled together sign that was an ominous indication of things to come.


Gradually students began to move; the march was now underway. There was definitely a tangible energy about the place and it was liberating to march past such famous political landmarks like Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament.


There was also a variety of interesting costumes worn by some of the more creative protesters. My favourite was someone dressed up as the grim reaper but with a David Cameron mask.


The good humour was also continued by the occasional musical instrument brought along to the march. A guy cheerfully played staccato phrases on his trumbone inbetween the student chanting.


The chants that students shouted had different levels of anger and malice. The most common chant was:

“No ifs, no buts, no education cuts”

Then there was the more aggressive:

“You cut back, we fight back”

And finally the chant that created an angry mob:

“Build a bonfire, build a bonfire put the Tories on top,

put the lib dems in the middle and then we burn the f**king lot”

That bonfire. That infamous bonfire at Millbank tower where there was vandalism and riots. It's amazing how the actions of the few can taint the actions of the many.


Generally though it was a very peaceful, successful protest. A very serious message was delivered: students won't stand for the rise in tuition fees and education cuts.

After spending the day on my feet and travelling halfway across the country, it was time for me to get back on my coach and brave the 6 hour return trip back to Teesside University.

I always said I knew it was going to be one hell of a long day.

Nick Adams
Guest Contributor

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

University Degree? £9,000 Per Year Please...

Universities minister David Willetts announced proposals to raise the tuition fee cap to £6,000, with institutions able to charge up to £9,000 in "exceptional circumstances."

Students currently pay £3,290 per year in tuition fees.

What exactly is an exceptional circumstance? With all the other cuts in place surely we already have families living under exceptional circumstances: cuts to child benefits, caps on housing benefits which students who commute are NOT entitled to anyway, The abolition of working tax credits which added extra money to your parents’/guardians’ pockets will be GONE. And the tip of this horrible ice berg? If your parents are public sector workers, there are to be 500,000 jobs CUT over the next 4 years.

Under a "progressive" repayment system, university leavers would not need to start making contributions until they are earning at least £21,000, he said.

Under the proposals, students will start repaying their loans at 9% of their income at a real rate of interest when they earn £21,000, up from the current £15,000 threshold.

Outstanding loans will be written off after 30 years.

So based on this information, you’re 22, if you graduated from university 3 years ago and you cannot get a job because of the current economical climate, you would look at getting another qualification. You head to university; you struggle through with little to no financial assistance from the government, somehow graduate 3 years later.

When you get out, it takes you 6 months to a year to find employment – you work and start paying off your already huge debt. It gets cancelled after 30 years at this point you’re 56 and have another 10 years of working life ahead of you to save for a pension that will not even begin to help you survive for a week? Is this fair?

The universities minister also announced a £150m national scholarship scheme which would be targeted at bright potential students from poor backgrounds.

"Under our proposals, a quarter of graduates - those on the lowest incomes - will pay less overall than they do at present," How far will this fund go? Where is this money magically appearing from? Who gets prioritised? Which boroughs, communities, demographic?

Research conducted by the NUS and HSBC has found nearly eight in 10 young people would be put off university if fees were raised to £10,000, while 70% would be deterred by a rise to £7,000. Will this create a nation of “underachievers”? no job prospects, not enough money to go into further education – what happens? But hey, DC needs to look good in his photographs and the money to pay this photographer has to come from somewhere. Pick on the little guy who is trying to better themselves.


Lem Leon

Project Manager


Residents of Waltham Forest are being asked to take part in a mass budget conversation in which they can say what services they want Waltham Forest Council to spend its budget on.

Waltham Forest Council has saved £30 Million over the past 3 years but with the recent spending review, the council estimate they will have to save a further £65 Million in the next FOUR years.

So Councillor Chris Robbins, Leader of Waltham Forest Council – has taken the unusual, but quite refreshing step of writing to the residents of the borough, offering them a chance to see how the current budget is spent, where the money comes from and most importantly – how they would like to see it spent in future.

There are several road shows available to assist completion of the online tool and ask any questions about things you may not fully understand within the questionnaire.

Due to the massive scale of the operation and the complexity of the information involved within the online tool, it is not possible to obtain a copy of this questionnaire in paper format. Plus it would be better for the environment this way.

Visit the Waltham Forest Council Website for information on where library drop in sessions will occur, road show dates and more information.

Have your say before 26th November!

Not a resident of this borough? How is your borough engaging with you to tackle the upcoming cuts? Speak to your Local council and find out now!

Lem Leon
Project Manager