Parties split over Burnley’s uni tuition fees

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RISING university tuition fees and the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) brought a heated debate to a meeting of Burnley Borough Council.

As reported in the Express last week, the University of Central Lancashire (UClan) which has a campus in Burnley, has decided to charge the maximum fee of £9,000.

The Coalition Government has also decided to scrap EMA for college age youngsters and replace it with a different system.

Burnley Labour group leader Coun. Julie Cooper said the two decisions would stunt social mobility in Burnley.

But council leader Coun. Charlie Briggs said: “Yet again, Coun. Cooper is talking Westminster, but never mind. There is a system in place to replace EMA. As for the fees, unfortunately UClan has decided to charge the maximum.

“This is unfortunate, but Labour was also planning to cut funding to universities. I would say to Coun. Cooper, ‘don’t put the blame on Burnley Council’.”

Coun. Cooper said: “EMA will be replaced by a scheme with funding reduced by £400m. This is pulling the rug from under our young people’s feet. It’s a bit rich for Coun. Briggs to blame universities for rising tuition fees when the Government has cut their funding by 80%.

“The Lib Dems promised they would scrap tuition fees, but are actually increasing them. Young people are entitled to know why.”

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said the majority of young people in Burnley would still receive aid in place of the EMA and the salary at which people would have to pay back fees had been raised.