Adam Price’s Blog

The Blog of Adam Price AS/MP, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Adam Price MP / AS - Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

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Archive for February 20th, 2009

20th February 2009

Evidence-based policy….policy-based Party

In 2005-2006 55.6% of Welsh domiciled students went to a Welsh higher education institution.  In 2006/07 that figure increased to 60.3%

2006-07 was the first academic year in which the ban on top-up fees in Wales for Welsh domiciled students came into effect. 

That means that an estimated 960 Welsh students, who would otherwise would have gone to English universities, decided to stay in  Wales. 

The distinctive Welsh policy on tuition fees is one of the great achievements of devolution; it has reversed the declining numbers of Welsh youth choosing to study, work and live in the country of their birth.  It has begun the process of turning our national brain drain into a brain gain.  All the more astonishing that Labour in the Assembly now wants us to ditch the policy and start exporting our most precious resource again:  the skills and aspirations of our people.   

The Labour Party is entitled to their policy but they have no right to impose it unilaterally on us as this was not envisaged in One Wales.  A fair compromise would be to allow the enabling legislation to pass but delay the implementation by one year until 2011/12 after the Assembly elections.  Parties can then present their policies anew to the electorate, and an incoming administration could decide whether to agree to continue to scrap the tuition fee grant.  If the policy being proposed has wide support then waiting one year will not do much harm; if not, then in the interests of democracy we should prevent it being presented as a fait accompli.  Plaid Cymru’s National Council that meets tomorrow needs no reminding that it voted through One Wales to create the One Wales Government.  But this policy was never part of the deal.