Higher Education (England) Regulations: 13th September 2017

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
Will the hon. Lady give way?

Angela Rayner
I will make some progress.

Anna Soubry
Will the hon. Lady give way?

Angela Rayner
Only this morning, the director of the Conservative think-tank Bright Blue echoed a point that we have been making for months, writing:

Anna Soubry
The hon. Lady will no doubt recall that it was her party that promised not to introduce tuition fees and then, when in government, went on to do that. Does she accept that application rates among disadvantaged English 18-year-olds and black and minority ethnic 18-year-olds are at an all-time record high?

Angela Rayner
The hon. Lady makes two important points, but she fails to recognise two important things that have happened alongside that. Lord Adonis made it clear that the Frankenstein that the Government have created with tuition fees is completely unsustainable, so Conservative Members cannot hide behind that if they think it limits their responsibility for trebling tuition fees. They are now trying to justify increasing them.

Our young people need that opportunity, but the Government feel that tuition fees need to rise again. When we last debated this issue, I said that Conservative Members might disagree with our desire to reduce tuition fees but it was wrong to deny the House the right to make the choice. Today, despite the Government’s best efforts, the House can make that choice, and I know that our constituents will remember the choice each of us makes.