ZARAH Sultana, the newly elected MP for Coventry South, brandished her student loan statement in parliament as she attacked ‘crushing debts’ for graduates.
The Labour leftist said other working class students are being saddled with “colossal” debt, which is increasing by thousands of pounds a year under a government led by a man “who went from the playing fields of Eton to a free education at Oxford.”
Speaking at Education Questions, Ms Sultana, who was 17-years-old when the Coalition government tripled tuition fees and was in the first cohort of students to pay £9,000 tuition fees, brandished her latest student loan statement which shows her student debt rose to £46,198.83, with £2,022.65 added in interest alone in the last year.
Now earning an MP’s basic salary of £79,500, Ms Sultana can expect to pay off her student loan in the next decade, if reelected, having paid nearly £10,000 in interest.
She studied International Relations with Economics at the University of Birmingham.
Ms Sultana, who in her maiden speech last week accused the Tory government of betraying her generation with “rising rents, frozen wages and diminishing opportunities”, said: “In 2010, like thousands of other young people, I argued against the tripling of tuition fees.
“But the government ignored us. And now I am in nearly £50,000 of debt.
“This is my latest student loan statement. As it says, in the last year alone the interest added was £2,022.65.
“So I ask the Secretary of State – can he look me in the eye and say with a straight face that it is fair that working class kids who want an education are forced to take on this crushing debt when his government is led by a man who went from the playing fields of Eton to a free education at Oxford.”
Responding, Chris Skidmore MP, the Universities minister, said: “I think its important to reflect that when it comes to student loans, when it come to the repayments themselves, students pay nothing back until they are earning above £25,000, and from April 2020 this rises to £26,575.
“It is also important to understand that we have seen the number of those from disadvantaged backgrounds rise by 62 per cent since 2009, and the government is going to look at the rate of interest as we said in the Conservative manifesto.”
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