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    09 July, 2005

    Rhondda Lib Dems wrong again

    The Western Mail carries a completely dishonest and inaccurate letter about my position on tuition fees from Karen Roberts, the defeated Lib Dem candidate in the Rhondda at the last election.

    She quotes words from my post below which she says are at variance with the speech I made in the Assembly Chamber:

    Eighty-five per cent of full-time Rhondda students study at Welsh institutions, so they will benefit from what is being proposed in respect of fees. Over half currently get the full public contribution to tuition fees, and 19% get partial contributions.

    Far from this being at odds with my speech in the Assembly, I said exactly that in the debate:

    Eighty-five per cent of full-time Rhondda students, based on first-year intake numbers, study at Welsh institutions, so they will benefit from what is being proposed today. Fifty-three per cent currently get full public contribution to tuition fees, and 19 per cent get partial contributions.

    Karen Roberts should avoid half-reading my speeches and articles before writing letters about them. It’s no wonder she lost her Council seat in the Rhondda last year.

    I said in the Assembly Chamber that I supported the deal on tuition fees, as far as it went, as most of it was based on the proposals of the Rees Commission, which Welsh Labour set up.

    The element of the deal which I objected to was the notion that the fee remission grant should not be means-tested. This would mean that, for example, if a Welsh-domiciled multi-millionaire chose to go to a Welsh university after 2007, then the Welsh tax-payer would have to pick up the bill for £1800 of their fees each year. That is money which could have been spent on the poorest, or on other priorities within the education budget, such as the under-5s.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.