Theresa May announces student fees 'U-turn'

PM Theresa May (Rex)
PM Theresa May (Rex)

Theresa May has said her government will freeze tuition fees at at £9,250, in what is being claimed is a major U-turn.

The under-pressure Prime Minister was speaking on The Marr Show on BBC.

She also said that fee repayment thresholds will rise, so graduates will start paying back loans once they earn £25,000, rather than the exiting £21,000.

And she also hinted that the way the student system is financed could be set for a major overhaul.

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A student demonstration against the government (Rex)
A student demonstration against the government (Rex)

“This is something parents and grandparents are concerned about in terms of debt,” she told the BBC.

“We are saying that we are going to raise that threshold at which you start to pay.”

She added that it would mean that students get an extra £30 a month “in their pockets”.

Labour, which wants to scrap tuition fees, called the plan ‘desperate’.

She was speaking in Manchester ahead of the Tory party conference, where she is under intense pressure over her leadership.

Demonstrators in Manchester on Sunday (Rex)
Demonstrators in Manchester on Sunday (Rex)

There have been calls from behind the scenes for the prime minister to be replaced after her disastrous decision to call an early general election, which saw the Conservatives lose their parliamentary majority, although they are still the largest party.

There has been speculation that Boris Johnson is lining up another leadership bid, after the foreign secretary lost out to Mrs May last year after the Brexit referendum.

Mrs May insisted her Cabinet is ‘united’ behind her vision for Britain, however she sidestepped the question of whether Mr Johnson was ‘unsackable’, saying that the Foreign Secretary was ‘absolutely behind’ the plan for Brexit which she set out in a speech in the Italian city of Florence last week.

She also declined to answer whether she would resign as Prime Minister if she fails to secure a Brexit deal with the European Union and the UK crashes out without agreement on a future relationship in 2019.