Hague says tuition fees may rise over £9,000 but Miliband pledges to cut them

William Hague

William Hague

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THE CONSERVATIVES have not ruled out increasing tuition fees above the current maximum of £9,000 a year, William Hague has said.

But the First Secretary of State claimed Labour was putting out “scare stories” over the issue, adding these are “extremely misleading” and designed to frighten voters ahead of Thursday’s poll.

Mr Hague’s remarks followed Nick Clegg’s refusal to answer on five occasions - under questioning from Labour’s Yvette Cooper - if he would rule out an increase in fees.

The coalition presided over a rise in university tuition fees from around £3,000 a year to a maximum of £9,000 in 2012. Mr Clegg later apologised for breaking a Lib Dem election promise to oppose any increase in fees.

Senior Tory Mr Hague, MP fro Richmond, said: “There has been a big change. The universities in this country are now able to raise the money they need to keep being world-class. Other parties have made promises to reduce the fees that I don’t think have credibility.”

Asked if the Tories would seek to raise fees or not, Mr Hague replied: “We haven’t specified the future level of university fees but I think the scare stories put about by the Labour Party are extremely misleading. They are just designed to frighten the voters before the election. We’ll continue to act in the interest of universities prospering and of record numbers of students going to university, which is what we have achieved against all predictions and forecasts over the last five years.”

Told the party had not ruled out an increase in the next parliament, Mr Hague said: “We haven’t ruled that out but scare stories about what may happen to such fees are really, as I say, just designed to scare people ahead of the election.”

Mr Miliband said he wanted to cut tuition fees to under £6,000.

During a visit to Worcester, he said: “I would like to get tuition fees down further. I would like to do better than £6,000.”

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