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Jeremy Corbyn Backtracks Over Plans to Wipe Student Debt

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Jeremey Corbyn has insisted Labour did not promise to wipe graduates' student debt during the general election campaign, after he was accused of misleading students by a Conservative MP.

During the election, he was reported to have told NME magazine that he would "deal with" the huge debts amassed by graduates paying high tuition fees, as well as abolish fees for current students.

He told the magazine: "I don't see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it."

However, speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Corbyn said there was no commitment to write off debt, which currently stands at more than £76bn for students studying in England.

He added that the party was not aware of how much writing off the debt burden would cost and therefore suggested: "We never said we would completely abolish it because we were unaware of the size of it at that time."

The Labour party has now set up a working group to develop a policy on how they could ease the burden for those who had racked up huge debts over the past few years. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the average student in England graduates with debts of £50,800.