In support of the occupation of SOAS Ken Livingstone said:
“The escalation of student activity reflects the gravity of the threat posed to Britain’s higher education system. Stringent cuts to the teaching budget are likely to lead to courses, departments and even entire universities being shut down. Raising the cap on tuition fees to £9000 per year risks reversing the progress made in recent years towards widening university participation.
These plans are unfair – by raising tuition fees the government is trying to transfer debt incurred from bailing out the bankers on to future generations of young people who are not responsible for the economic crisis. They are also short-sighted and economically illiterate. Investment in education is one of the most effective means of stimulating economic activity in the short-run and creates a more productive future workforce – something that is vital for Britain’s long-term economic prosperity.
I wholly support students in their campaign against these plans and congratulate them for ratcheting up the resistance against the coalition cuts. A united campaign of staff unions, university management and the broader labour movement will help put the government on the defensive and win the case for a progressive alternative. “