NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim

With the controversial tuition fee vote looming, NUS National President Aaron Porter has hit back at Nick Clegg after accusations from the Deputy Prime Minister that he was 'not being straight' with student protesters over his ideas for higher education reform.

With the controversial tuition fee vote looming, NUS National President Aaron Porter has hit back at Nick Clegg after accusations from the Deputy Prime Minister that he was “not being straight” with student protesters over his ideas for higher education reform.

Responding to a Nick Clegg  interview in the The Independent on Sunday, NUS President Aaron Porter has criticised both the Coalition plans for higher education reform and the Deputy Prime Minister’s misrepresentation of the NUS position on the issue. In a letter seen by Left Foot Forward, Porter cites ten reasons why the NUS’ proposals are “fairer and more progressive” than those supported by Clegg.

Mr Porter’s letter begins by focusing on the Coalition’s decision to cut the teaching budget by 80 per cent:

“Your Government’s decision to transfer the whole cost on to the individual through a loans system is the ideological choice of a group who believe that Higher Education should only be available to the richest.”

The letter points out that, “By operating a “fees and loans” scheme instead of graduate tax, it means that the higher payments from richer graduates end up flowing into the universities that are already richest, with the fewest poor students to support, the most endowment funds and the best asset bases.”

Addressing the “regressive” nature of the reforms, Porter explains how 75% of students will pay more under the proposed scheme compared to the NUS’ preferred graduate tax proposal where “earners in the lowest quintile would have paid less than £500 for university; those in the next quintile about half what they do now and those in the middle quintile roughly the same as now.” He points out that supposedly progressive elements of the reforms such as raising the threshold for repaying student loads to £21,000 do not take inflation into consideration, as the threshold will not rise again until 2021. In contrast the NUS plan rises every year in line with inflation.

Responding to Clegg’s argument that “It’s great going on demos and really having a crack at the government of the day”, Porter disagrees that is the reasoning for the protests, “Students are angry about your proposals because they are unfair, ideological and represent a massive betrayal of the students who voted for you.”

Porter refuses to be taken in by the announcement that a £150m scholarship fund will be provided for the poorest students citing the £450m cut in Education Maintenance Allowances:

“We wouldn’t have swapped £450m in maintenance support for the poorest at school and college doing A levels for a third of that in golden ticket partial scholarships to universities. What’s the point in free first years for the poorest if they drop out of college before they get there?”

With mounting pressure on the Deputy Prime Minister from within his own party, Porter’s response could open up even more divides in what is currently an extremely fragmented Liberal Democrat party.

31 Responses to “NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim”

  1. Wes Streeting

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  2. Vic Langer

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  3. Andy Bean

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  4. Hannah Chutzpah

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  5. Union

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  6. Essex Students Union

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  7. Gary Banham

    No EMA, no deal: RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  8. Faye Nora Edwards

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  9. Chris Penberthy

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  10. Matt Hyde

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  11. NUS Student Media

    NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  12. NUS UK

    NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  13. Alan W

    Clegg, and now Ashdown too, seem determined to patronise all those protesting, by assuming they’re just a bit slow on the uptake and haven’t yet grasped the brilliance of the coalition’s proposals. But in fact people understand them only too well and recognise them for the travesty they are.

    As for the graduate tax alternative of the NUS, while I accept this would be preferable to the coalition policy, I still think funding HE and FE through general taxation is the best option.

    While not all graduates are high earners, most high earners are graduates, so a progressive income tax is effectively a graduate tax anyway. Indeed it is a much fairer kind of graduate tax because it doesn’t only apply to future generations of students, but also has to be paid by those of us who were lucky enough to get our degrees in the days before fees.

  14. Students'Union

    RT @nusuk: NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  15. Rosie

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg "not being straight" claim http://bit.ly/g1VyqD

  16. David J Patrick

    NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  17. UCL Occupation

    RT @nusuk: NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  18. Cheryl Baker

    RT @nusuk: NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  19. Angela Pateman

    RT @nusuk: NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  20. Classroom Supply

    NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://tinyurl.com/2caa5me

  21. Samantha Davis

    NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim: … after accusations from the Deputy Prime Minister that he w… http://bit.ly/eiZmt5

  22. william

    Alan W.Not all high earners went to university,not even ‘most’.In 1970, only 20 percent of school leavers went to uni.There is no proof of a causal link between uni. and earnings.Students by definition are the clever clogs from school.No political party wins elections by raising income tax under the guise of this word ‘progressive’. The truth is the taxpayer can no longer afford to give students ,40 percent of school leavers, a free ride on the rest, because the economy is 7 percent smaller.I would halve student numbers, and make it free for all but the rich.there was no such thing as student debt in 1972, and entry requirements were far higher.

  23. Sean Parlor

    RT @nusuk: NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  24. ULivUCU

    "@nusuk: NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter"

  25. TU Cultural Studies

    NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/fEV37j

  26. blogs of the world

    With the controversial tuition fee vote looming, NUS National President Aaron Porter has h… http://reduce.li/4y6krg #being

  27. the 5 o'clock hero

    RT @leftfootfwd: NUS hit back at Clegg claim they're "not being straight" http://bit.ly/g2ozRC

  28. Anna Machell

    RT @nusuk: NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  29. Alexandra Foster

    RT @nusuk: NUS hit back at Clegg “not being straight” claim http://bit.ly/g2ozRC @leftfootfwd @aaronporter

  30. Porter Strikes back « atthegrapevine

    […] Following Nick Clegg’s interview in The Independent in which he criticises NUS President Aaron Porter, Porter has hit back in a letter with an attack on both Nick Clegg’s claims that the tuition fees rise is ultimately progressive and his ‘betrayal’ of the students who voted for him. Read the full story HERE […]

  31. Mr. Sensible

    Alan patronizing is just what Clegg’s comments are.

    The Lib Dems are in an absolute mess. I heard on the radio this morning that, according to a survey only 2 of the Lib Dem MPs who responded (they asked all 57) are prepared to vote with the government. And at least 1 minister could possibly resign over it.

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