Contact: 07989235178, 07919425137
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts has called a national demonstration for November 4 under the slogans “Free Education & Living Grants for all: no barriers, no borders, no business!”
The announcement of the key demands comes as the first all-Conservative budget is read in Parliament today, bringing with it the slashing of maintenance grants for those from the poorest backgrounds. The maintenance grant system currently offers £3,387 a year to students in England and Wales from families with annual household incomes of £25,000 or less, and decreases exponentially as household income rises. Osborne will propose to replace this with an increased loan system.
The NCAFC is calling for non-means-tested living grants, a system which would mean that all students, regardless of household income, receive non-repayable grants to fund their living costs whilst studying. This would be funded by taxing the rich and expropriation of the banks.
The demonstration will also demand an end to the scapegoating and deportation of international students and the defence of migrants’ rights and an end to the marketisation of education.
Raquel Palmeira, NCAFC LGBTQ Rep, said: “The Conservative government is destroying the education system as we know it, and replacing it with a fully marketised system which will take teenagers at one end and simply turn out people ready for jobs at the others. We demand an education system free from the market, and one which is truly accessible to all – not only those who can afford it, and we will be taking to the streets in our hundreds of thousands to win this”
Tom Robinson, UCL Union Welfare & International Officer, said: “Students from lower income families are also those most put off by the notion of leaving education with a mountain of debt. We know that an overwhelming majority of students will never pay back their student debt; by its own logic the system of 9k fees has failed and it is utterly nonsensical that Osborne is planning to load students with more debt rather than admit this.”
Hope Worsdale, Warwick For Free Education and NCAFC National Committee, said: “This demonstration will provide a springboard for a new level of resistance. We have had successes in the past – such as on the student loan book sell-off and the HE Bill, which was dropped in 2012 – and we intend to fight for every inch of the education system and the wider welfare state. As this government makes sustained attacks on the working class, we will in turn show sustained resistance through direct action, strikes and occupations”
James Elliott, NUS Disabled Students’ Committee, said: “This budget forms part of an ideological attack on the working class. While Osborne scraps maintenance grants, he also raises the threshold for inheritance tax to one million pounds – meaning that even fewer people will end up paying it. It is clear that this budget serves only the interests of the rich.”
- The Facebook event for the demonstration: https://www.facebook.com/events/1449378505377525/
- More information on the demands of the demonstration; http://anticuts.com/2015/07/08/free-education-living-grants-for-all-no-barriers-no-borders-no-business/