Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Sunday, 20 September 2009 11:59 UK

Lib Dem views on tuition fees

By Gavin Stamp
Political reporter, BBC News, Bournemouth

The Lib Dem leadership has said its pledge to abolish student tuition fees may have to be put on hold because of the scale of the debt crisis.

What do party members gathered in Bournemouth think of this? Is the party right to reconsider its position or should the pledge be sacrosanct?

NEAL BROWN, READING

Neal Brown

It is very important to look at our spending commitments because we have a huge national debt as things stand. Some cuts are going to be needed to be made. However, we choose our policy democratically here and we have only recently committed to continue opposing tuition fees and I can only see that continue. We have got people entering their adult life with over £20,000 of debt. That's no way to start out.

JOHN MORRIS, CHELTENHAM

John Morris

This took me a bit by surprise when I heard it yesterday. In the economic situation we are in, you have to be realistic and I think a lot of things are going to go to the wall in areas where we would like to see some growth or change. But I think the tuition fees pledge does need to be brought in quite quickly and fees done away with as quickly as possible. You don't want that kind of debt, as a young person, when you are starting out and climbing the ladder.

JENNY BARNES, GODALMING

Jenny Barnes

I really don't think we can say anything can be sacrosanct given the level of debt at the moment. But I would regard student fees and education as a pretty high priority. In isolation, I am in favour of people not having to pay student fees. And looking at the bigger picture, that might be the one thing I choose to save from the savagery.

ZOE FRANKLIN, GUILDFORD

Zoe Franklin

I was one of the first students who went through the change when the student loan company came in. For me it is incredibly important to keep our commitment to scrapping fees. At the same time, I completely understand where Nick Clegg and the leadership are coming from. I would hope by some careful looking at how things are, we could keep the pledge. The impression I got from listening to Nick Clegg is that we, as a party, really want to keep our pledge. I didn't get any sense it is a done deal.

EVELYN KNOWLES, ISLE OF WIGHT

Evelyn Knowles

I do think it should be sacrosanct. Providing the right education for our children is the most important thing in the world. Nothing should prevent that or stand in its way. I don't sense a battle. It is more of a question of the leadership understanding how strongly the membership feels about this. Usually the leadership does listen.



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