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Thousands of students expected to march for free education

STUDENT MARCH: Protesters will march under the slogan 'Free education – no barriers, no borders, no business'

THOUSANDS OF students will take to the streets of London today (Nov 4) calling for free education in England and Wales.

Organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), the group protesters will march under the slogan ‘Free education – no barriers, no borders, no business’ after the Government recently announced plans to abolish maintenance grants, instead, turning them into loans.

The NCAFC said the move will leave the poorest students in ‘more and more debt’ after years of fee increases, calling the Government’s move a ‘concerted attempt to turn higher education into a market system, run like a business, with more and more provision privatised and outsourced’.

Backed by the National Union of Students (NUS), the NCAFC said the protest is also backed by Unite the Union and will be attended by students from over forty campuses, adding how it has also been personally endorsed and promoted by Jeremy Corbyn.

During his leadership campaign, Corbyn said he wanted to scrap tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants, a policy he costed at £10bn a year. The party’s higher education spokesman, Gordon Marsden, said its policy would now go into a consultation process. “It’s really important we have a far more inclusive consultation within the party than we’ve had in the past,” he said.

Deborah Hermanns, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, which has organised the London demonstration, said: “The political climate is different now. We have a leader of the Labour party who is fully behind us, a re-energised activist base and a growing realisation among those involved that this has to be a starting point rather than an end it itself.”

Last year, 10,000 people took part in a student protest in the capital that ended in series of scuffles and accusations of police violence. The protest against tuition fees and spending cuts was the biggest mobilisation of students since 2010, when demonstrators occupied Tory party offices at Millbank.

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