FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday 18 November 2014
Student Assembly Against Austerity Press Release
Tomorrow (Wednesday 19 November), thousands of students will be marching through the streets of central London in a national demonstration demanding free education and an end to tuition fees, education cuts and student debt.
The demonstration is expected to be the largest student protest since tuition fees were trebled in 2010 and is being organised by the Student Assembly Against Austerity, alongside the Young Greens and National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts.
Aaron Kiely, NUS National Executive and an organiser of the Student Assembly Against Austerity said:
“We are marching to demand an alternative to £9,000 tuition fees, colossal student debt and savage cuts to education. We want the British government to follow the example of Germany, where tuition fees were abolished last month.
“A modern economy capable of competing in a globalised world can only function with a highly educated workforce. If the British government increased tax on the wealthiest in society, scrapped Trident or reduced military spending, billions of pounds would be made available to fund free education and other vital public services.
“Wednesday’s national demonstration marks the start if a major wave of action between now and the General Election which seeks to turn up the heat on politicians and political parties to listen to the demands of the student movement.”
Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Officer said:
“It is Black students, along with other oppressed groups, who suffer the greatest disadvantages from the Government’s continued austerity measures. Since the trebling of tuition fees in 2010, the UK’s education system has become one of the most expensive in the world. Coupled with the abolishing of the Education Maintenance Allowance – a vital grant that has assisted thousands of young Black students through Further Education – young Black people have been further excluded from opportunities in education.
"The NUS Black Students’ Campaign is proud to have unequivocal and consistent policy in support of free education and against cuts to education. We will be marching for a clear alternative to austerity politics, against the vicious racist scapegoating agenda of the government, and in proud support of immigrants and international students who make a vast contribution to our education and wider society.”
Shelly Asquith, President of University of the Arts London Students’ Union added:
“We cannot rely on simply passing policy at NUS National Conference and meeting privately with Government ministers to win an education that functions how we want it to: free, inclusive and democratic. We must use our collective power, organise and fight. That is why students from the University of the Arts London - both FE and HE alike - will be walking out on Wednesday, joining thousands from across the country.”
Clifford Fleming, Co-Chair of the Young Greens added:
“Access to education is a fundamental right for us all.
“The Green Party stands up for free education, living grants and rent caps on private landlords. Students and young people are exploited every day, and that needs to stop now.
“Free education ensures that everybody has the opportunity, regardless of background, to pursue their interests and ambitions at a higher level.”
Callum Cant, from Warwick for Free Education and the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts said:
“At Warwick we have been campaigning on the ground for almost a month, and we’ve seen our hard work pay off. On campus, the mood is changing, people are excited, and we have seen a huge number of people getting involved in student activism for the first time.”
1. The Student Assembly Against Austerity is organising the national demonstration for free education on Wednesday 19 November alongside a coalition of groups including the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and the Young Greens.
2. The national demonstration on 19 November will assemble at Malet Street in London at 12noon and march round Russell Square, down Kingsway to the Strand, and then to Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and ending at Parliament by 4pm. A rally will be taking place outside of Parliament, featuring MPs, trade unionists, campaigners and student activists.
3. Student Assembly Against Austerity representatives will be available for media interview from 11am at Malet Street on the day of the demonstration.
4. The Student Assembly Against Austerity is the student wing of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
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Twitter: @thestudentassem | #Nov19 | #FreeEducation