Reed fights Tory plans to scrap grants for low-income students

 In Croydon, News, Parliament

Steve Reed MP has voted against the Government’s plans to scrap maintenance grants for students from poorer backgrounds, a move that would force them to take out huge loans instead.

The change will mean the poorest 40% of university students in England will graduate with debts of up to £53,000 for a three-year course.  It will affect students studying at further education colleges as well as universities.  Many of the poorest students come from black and ethnic minority communities or are older or disabled learners trying to make more of their lives.

The Government tried to sneak the changes through as ‘secondary legislation’ in an attempt to avoid proper parliamentary scrutiny.   But Labour called a full debate and a vote in the House of Commons to halt the move which was not mentioned in the Conservative Party manifesto.  While Croydon North MP Steve Reed voted to keep grants in place, Croydon’s Tory MPs Gavin Barwell and Chris Philp both voted to scrap them.

Steve Reed MP, speaking after the vote, said:

“Maintenance grants provide vital support for students from lower income backgrounds.  Many students across Croydon North benefit, and the system makes sure poorer students who can’t afford to pile up debt can still get a university education.  Tragically, the Tories have now swept that safety net away.

“When David Cameron trebled tuition fees to £9,000 a year he said grants would remain in place to support students from low-income families, but now that promise lies in tatters and students across Croydon will feel they can no longer afford to achieve their full potential.”