student march for National Campaign Against Cuts and Fees 1 (338x450)Thousands of students marched through central London last week calling for the abolition of tuition fees and the retention of maintenance grants.

The ‘grants not debt’ march on 4th November saw demonstrators dressed in black and with scarves over their faces calling for a ‘free education’.

Students supporting the National Campaign Against Cuts and Fees marched through the city with chants and placards attacking the cost of going to university.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell addressed the students before the rally and said: “Your generation has been betrayed by this government in increases to tuition fees, in scrapping the education maintenance allowance and cuts in education.”

“Education is a gift from one generation to another, it is not a commodity to be bought and sold,” he told marchers.

The National Campaign Against Cuts and Fees said that students want the government to remove tuition fees, currently up to £9,000 per year in England, and to reverse a decision to convert means-tested maintenance grants into repayable loans.

But a spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is responsible for universities, said it was ‘committed to ensuring everyone with the potential to benefit from higher education has the opportunity to do so, regardless of their background’.

The student funding system was operated so that ‘lack of finance should not be a barrier to participation and more funding is available to support living costs than ever before’.