>> 7 June 2013
Labour’s by-election candidate has been described as having made himself a ‘card-carrying member’ of Johann Lamont’s Cuts Commission agenda, as he confirmed that he was in favour of re-introducing tuition fees in Scotland.
Willie Young had repeatedly refused to say what his view on re-introducing tuition fees. He told STV at the start of the campaign that he had a view, but didn’t want to say what it was. Last night, during an Aberdeen Youth Council hustings, Young again refused to set out his view to an audience of young people.
However, today’s Times carries an interview with Mr Young in which he supports a graduate payment for higher education.
Commenting, SNP Candidate Mark McDonald said:
“If he is so happy to speak his mind on the issue of fees as he claims today, why was he so afraid to tell an audience of Aberdeen’s young people last night what he really thinks – and only revealed his tuition fees stance to a newspaper?
“Free education is just one of several universal benefits threatened by the Cuts Commission established by the Labour leader in Scotland, Johann Lamont.
“On Wednesday I launched my youth manifesto with a pledge to oppose tuition fees at every turn, and the SNP acted in the last parliament to abolish the graduate endowment.
“As an MSP, I voted for legislation to widen access to university for more students from poorer backgrounds. Labour voted against this, despite the fact NUS Scotland has said it will take 40 years to make progress without the legislation. Labour’s inaction on access completely undermines their rhetoric and exposes a party that is determined to impose tuition fees on Scotland’s students.
"Only a vote for the SNP in this by-election will protect vital services such as free education, because I am the only candidate committed to voting for them in each and every annual budget in the Scottish Parliament."