Conservative leader David Cameron warned that student tuition fees are here to stay if his party comes to power during his visit to Leamington Spa on 21st December. The visit was part of a nationwide tour to rally support ahead of the upcoming election.
Students’ Union President [Andrew Bradley](/news/andrew-bradley/) attended the event and questioned Cameron on how students would get a better deal under a Conservative government.
In his answer, the Tory leader said that top up fees and tuition fees were necessary in order to maintain the standard of British universities.
He said, “Everybody knows good universities cost money. We have to ask students to make a contribution.”
“The most serious problem right now is unemployment facing graduates as they leave university.”
He followed by praising measures in Australia and New Zealand where students are rewarded with a discount for paying back their student loan early.
He said, “We should do exactly the same thing here and encourage students who want to stay on for another year to do so.”
Cameron also said that there should be more bursary schemes available to students and that there should be a greater proportion of students from the poorest backgrounds attending university. He said that there was no evidence that fees were preventing this from happening but rather “cultural barriers.”
“Do not make the mistake in thinking that we can do all of this for free – we can’t,” he added.
The Tory leader attacked Labour throughout the one hour question and answer session, slating them as a “dishonest and sick organisation.”
He supported Labour’s decision to send more troops into Afghanistan but said that mistakes had been made at the beginning of the war.
He said, “We were trying to create Switzerland in the Hindu Kush – a perfect democracy.”
Warwick and Leamington represent marginal constituencies that could help decide the outcome of the election. The seat has been held by Labour MP James Plaskitt since Labour came to power in 1997 but had previously been a safe Conservative seat for nearly a century.