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Leicester Students take their case to Parliament and meet with local MP

March 2, 2005 11:28 PM

Today, Parmjit Singh Gill, Member of Parliament for Leicester South met students from Leicester and De Montfort Universities and Leicester College at the Palace of Westminster. This comes on the day the National Union of Students (NUS) hosted a meeting in Parliament on Further and Higher Education. This event brought together student officers from across the UK. Discussions focused on their concerns and grievances for Higher Education and the Governments decision in introduce University Tuition and Top-up fees.

This comes only a month after Parmjit led a parliamentary debate on the issue of university top-up fees; and called on the Government to rethink its policy which saddles students with enormous debt. In the speech Parmjit highlighted:

§ The anticipated average debt on graduation had increased by two and a half times since 1998-99 to £8,666 (without even taking account of top up fees!)

§ The massive impact of student debt on health which was reported by the Higher Education and Research Opportunities in the United Kingdom which concluded:

o "Rising levels of debt have a serious impact on student well-being."

And also that those students with excessive debts:

o "are more likely to suffer anxiety (74 per cent.) and depression (32 per cent.) compared with other students 45 and 8 per cent. respectively."

During the meeting Parmjit pledged his support the National Union of Students Manifesto.

Commenting on the meeting, Parmjit said:

"Students are subject to rising levels of debt, as are the hard working parents who struggle to support them through these demanding years.

"There is a growing body of evidence showing these massive levels of debt are linked to higher levels of anxiety and depression and that students are being deterred from applying to university.

"I was very pleased to reiterate my support for students today in Parliament.

END

Notes to Editors:

1. Parmjit met with members of the Student Executive from De Montfort University. He met the Union President, Richard Treffler and the Welfare and Campaigns Officer, Ben Kensall.

2. Parmjit also met with Theresa Pollard, Vice-President Education from Leicester University.

3. Phil Willis, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for Higher Education also to spoke to the students from Leicester.

4. Parmjit held an adjournment debate on University Tuition and Top-Up fees on 26th January 2005 with The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills Derek Twigg. The full debate can be found online at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmhansrd/cm050126/debtext/50126-38.htm#50126-38_spnew2

5. NUS website is at: http://www.nusonline.co.uk/