Lords approves government’s plans to increase tuition fees

15 December 2010

Members of the House of Lords approved the government’s proposals to raise tuition fees for UK students by defeating two amendments that would have blocked the plans in the debate on Higher Education (Basic Amount) (England) Regulations on Tuesday 14 December

Government minister Lord Henley put the two motions to the House which would raise the amount set by the Higher Education (Basic Amount) (England) Regulations to £6,000 and to increase the higher amount to £9,000.

Lord Triesman, Opposition spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Skills, introduced the two amendments opposing the motions. The amendments called on the government to provide evidence of the ‘fairness and sustainability of its proposals for funding higher education’ through consultation, research and impact assessments ‘prior to contemplating any increase to the high amount specified.’

The House voted against the amendments by 215 to 283 votes and by 200 to 273 votes.

The increase in tuition fees will come into effect for first year students on relevant courses beginning on or after 1 September 2012.

A separate amendment tabled by Lord Bilimoria (Crossbench) was not moved. This amendment would not have blocked the government’s plans, but would have signified that the House of Lords was critical of the government’s actions and called for the increases to be staggered was not moved.

Members of the Lords who took part in the debate included:

  • Lord Triesman, visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge, Warwick University and the London School of Economics
  • Lord Browne of Madingley, chair of the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance 2009-10
  • Lord Bilimoria, former visiting professor at London Metropolitan University
  • Baroness Shephard of Northwold, former Secretary of State for Education, member of the Continuing Education Board at the University of Oxford
  • Baroness Blackstone, vice-chancellor of the University of Greenwich
  • Lord Krebs, principal of Jesus College, Oxford
  • Lord Patten of Barnes, chancellor of the University of Oxford
  • Lord Giddens, former director of the London School of Economics, former lecturer at the University of Cambridge and King’s College, University of London
  • Lord Winston, chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, chairman of the Royal College of Music, professor at Imperial College, University of London
  • Lord Bishop of Chichester, governor of the University of Chichester
  • Lord May of Oxford, former lecturer at University of Oxford, Imperial College, University of London, Sydney University and Princeton University
  • Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, former principal of Newnham College, Cambridge
  • Lord Phillips of Sudbury, chancellor of the University of Essex
  • Baroness Williams of Crosby, former Minister of State for Education and Science and Emeritus Professor at Harvard University

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall, Lord Elystan-Morgan, Lord Henley, Lord Wills, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean and Baroness Sharp of Guilford.

The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee have reported in the regulations.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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