15% cutbacks to support for Wales' most disadvantaged students represents another broken promise by the Labour-run Welsh Government.
Spring 2010, NUS Wales, representing all university and college
students in Wales, launched a campaign called "Access All Areas" in the
run-up to the Welsh Assembly elections. As part of Access All Areas,
candidates for the Assembly, including every single Labour candidate,
specifically pledged they would not cut the Assembly Learning Grant
(ALG) from its then-current level of £5000 per year.
Assembly has cut the ALG by 6% in real terms from its 2010 level, and by
15% in real terms from its 2011 level. This cut, alongside similar cuts
in the Special Support Grant, mean mature students, single parents,
disabled students, and students on lower incomes will find it much
harder to afford college and university education in Wales.
the Liberal Democrats broke their 2009 pledge not to raise tuition fees,
NUS rallied 52,000 students to a mass march outside Parliament and
supported a season of lobbying and demonstrations. With Labour breaking
its election promise in Wales, NUS Wales, itself now controlled by the
Labour Party, is silent.
Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition
candidates, who all signed the Access All Areas pledge within a day of
its launch, have also promised not to pass on any of the Coalition or
Assembly cuts to ordinary working people. Labour's craven abandonment of
its principles and promises shows how, both in NUS and in local
government, a fighting alternative is urgently needed.