Media falsely attack Corbyn on Student debt, while ignoring failed Tory manifesto pledges

Many media outlets are finding new and creative ways to criticise Jeremy Corbyn – by using language in articles and headlines to make it seem like Corbyn made an absolute promise in the General Election and Labour Party Manifesto 2017 to abolish or reduce student debt.

Just to make things clear – the Labour Party’s 2017 Manifesto did state it would abolish tuition fees and to reintroduce maintenance grants:

“Labour will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and we will abolish university tuition fees.

University tuition is free in many northern European countries, and under a Labour government it will be free here too.”

Labour Manifesto 2017 (Chapter 3, Towards a Higher Education Service, Higher Education, pg. 43)

Nowhere does it state that the Labour Party would abolish student debt. After the general election, Corbyn did state that Labour will be looking at ways it could try to either abolish or reduce existing student debt – we even wrote about it (click here to read it). Exploring a potential policy does no equal it actually becoming a set in stone policy. It clearly was “an ambition” for Labour, the exact words used by John Mcdonnell, the Shadow Chancellor as stated in his interview with Andrew Marr, but once again, this does not equal it becoming official Labour Party Policy.

Another example of Corbyn stating that he would be looking to develop the policy is with his interview with the NME at the start of June:

“There is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I’m looking at ways that we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing that debt burden.

“I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s  interview with the NME

Again, it is very clear he cares about it, but it doesn’t mean he’s made it official policy, and guess why – it might cost £100 BILLION.

Want someone to blame for the criminal mountains of debt left on young graduates? Blame the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats for tripling fees. And after you’ve done that, blame the Liberal Democrats once again for backstabbing a generation, as most 18-24 year olds in the 2010 general election voted for them, mostly because they promised to abolish fees, but then doing the exact opposite and going into coalition with the Tories and voting with them to triple fees. Then blame the Tories once again for not only tripling fees, but then abolishing student maintenance grants and NHS funding for future Nurses, charging them fees too.

And lets not forget the ridiculous terms of the debt – they charge students with interest as soon as they begin their degree – not after they graduate. And then they continue to charge students with ridiculous amounts of interest, sometimes over 6% no thanks to spiralling interest rates due to Brexit. Also, if they leave the country for over 3 months without telling the Students Loan Company, they would be charged extra interest, making their ridiculously high debt, even higher. It’s as if young people caused the crash of 2008; it’s a scandal.

And while this is all going on and making front page news, a supposed broken promise that was never even a promise – the Tories get away with the mountain of broken promises from both the 2015 and 2017 general election manifesto’s. You can check out the Mirror’s version or our summary here:

  1. The deficit should have been cleared by now. It hasn’t, and it is predicted that it won’t even be gone by 2020 – so that’s a broken promise, and we’ll have over 10 years of austerity – showing what an absolute failure it has been.
  2. The Tories promised no increase on VAT, Income Tax or National Insurance Contributions. The Chancellor hiked NICs in first Budget before being shamed into a U-turn a week later
  3. The Tories promised to deliver a strong NHS. In reality, waiting times have soared, A&E is in meltdown and medics were forced to strike.
  4. The Tories promised to protect schools funding. In reality, funding is being cut by 6.5% with many inner city schools facing even bigger losses.
  5. The Tories promised to increase British exports to £1trillion by 2020. This target won’t be hit.

Those are our top 5 broken promises, but you can read the 15 more on the link provided.

In terms of student debt, the Labour Party will continue to explore what it can do for those in debt and will in the near future make an official statement – and if they back track on something that has officially made a policy, we will be amongst the first to criticise and attack them for it.

by Berk Bektas

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