Young people in north London express ‘disbelief’ as tuition fees Bill is passed

YOUNG people in north London have spoken of their disbelief that tuition fees will rise to as much as �9,000 a year, after the coalition government won its controversial vote.

A total of 323 Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs voted for the proposal, while 302 MPs voted against it, giving the government a majority of 21.

Former Highgate School pupil Adam Jogee, 19, took part in today’s protest against the proposal. He is currently waiting to find out if he has a university place for 2011, otherwise he will have to defer to 2012 and pay up to �9,000 in tuition fees.

Mr Jogee, who is chairman of the Hornsey Labour Party, said: “If I go to university next year I will not have to pay the increased tuition fees, otherwise I’ll be lumbered with the supposedly fairer and more progressive fees – which clearly they’re not.

“The government talks about a knowledge-based economy but we can only have that if young people go to university. In this day and age, gaining a degree should not be about the amount someone can pay, but their academic ability.”

Axel Landin, 19, is a politics student at Cambridge University and a former pupil of William Ellis School.

He said: “This will be a major deterrent to young people going to university, particularly those from less privileged backgrounds.

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“I’m lucky because I’m not going to have to pay those fees but I know lots of families in Camden with four children under 16 and they are very worried. We’re going to have some of the highest fees in the developed world.”

MPs took part in the vote as police clashed with protesters outside the House of Commons.

Some protesters set fire to benches in Parliament Square while others threw fireworks at mounted police officers.

So far seven people have been arrested, two for assaulting a police officer, one for being drunk and disorderly and four for violent disorder. Up to 13 protesters and six police officers have been injured in the violence.

In a statement released this evening, the Metropolitan Police said: “Officers came to work today to facilitate peaceful protest but have come under continued and violent attacks from protesters.”

It defended its controversial technique of kettling demonstrators, saying: “A full containment has been put in place around Parliament Square that allows the young and vulnerable, and those not involved in committing offences, to leave in small numbers via Whitehall.”

For more on the tuition fees debate, see today’s Ham&High.