Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Gibson welcomes scrapping of student poll tax

News release
Immediate release

Rob Gibson MSP has welcomed the scrapping of the Graduate endowment.

The SNP Government policy of ridding students of £2,289 fee after they graduate was passed with support from the Lib Dems and Greens after an alliance between Labour and the Conservatives was forged to scupper the Bill.

Mr Gibson said:

"The vote in Parliament today will be greeted with gratitude and relief by students the length and breath of Scotland. It is an early Christmas present for them. I am glad that the Lib Dem's joined with the Greens to vote for this fair and just SNP

"The unholy and anti-student alliance between Labour and Conservatives would have condemned graduates this year and in future years to increased debts. I see no reason why Peter Peacock, Rhoda Grant, David Stewart, Mary Scanlon and Jamie McGrigor would want to increase the burden on students across the nation. Especially those that they represent in the north (as research has shown) often shoulder a greater burden of debt."

"The Labour Party talks about social justice; however, they had a great chance to practice what they preach today but fluffed their lines. It will be to their eternal shame that they did so."

During the debate on the subject Mr Gibson said that dropping the fees would help the country as well as students…

"If the graduate endowment is scrapped then it will remove fees of £2289 from about 50,000 students. That will help the economy of Scotland because it will give people a better chance to work and live here. If that is not a good product of a university education I don't know what is."

He went onto quote a trainee teacher from Argyll who contacted him about the graduate endowment. In her letter she wrote:

"I hope to graduate in February and intend to teach in Scotland….therefore the money paid on my behalf for my tuition fees will be going back into the education of our country."

He also questioned the efficacy of the Graduate Endowment saying:

"The Government has received only £57,000 out of the £26.3 million that has been added to student loans. That is a ridiculous return.

He ended by urging the Labour and Conservatives to listen to their conscience and support the bill, but alas to no avail.


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