Labour launches £3bn education plan for six years free study for every adult
12 November 2019, 05:04 | Updated: 12 November 2019, 07:16
Every adult would be entitled to six years of free study under Labour plans to bring vocational education in line with university degrees, and to "stamp out a skills shortage," a move the Tories have said they will be unable to fulfil.
In a speech in Blackpool Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner and leader Jeremy Corbyn will announce Labour's plans to ensure everyone has access to education and training throughout their life to end skills shortages and “allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future”.
Angela Rayner will say that Labour will “throw open the door” for adults to study, “whether they want to change career, are made redundant or didn’t get the qualifications they needed when they were younger.”
The party says its plans are vital to meet the changing nature of industry - ensuring automation doesn’t leave people without work and there are the necessary to tackle the climate emergency.
The Labour leader and Ms Rayner are to visit Blackpool to pledge the free entitlement to six years of study for undergraduate degrees and equivalents such as diplomas and foundation degrees.
The entitlement would also be extended to certificates and diplomas of higher education in areas such as engineering technicians, nursing associates and professional accounting technicians.
Any adult without an A-level or equivalent qualification would be able to attend college and study them for free.
The party will also scrap university tuition fees, bring back EMA for sixth form students and bring back university maintenance grants.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, is expected to say: “Labour will throw open the door for adults to study, whether they want to change career, are made redundant or didn’t get the qualifications they needed when they were younger.
“For many, adult education is too expensive, too time-consuming or too difficult to get into.
“People have been held back for too long. We will make free education a right to ensure we have the skills we need to allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future.
“We’ll make sure no one is shut out of education by giving people the support, time and funding they need to train so that we have the skills we need to meet the changing nature of work and tackle the climate emergency.”
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, will say he'd rather give a break to workers who want to learn, than the rich who already have everything they need.
Mr Corbyn will say: “As part of Labour’s plan for real change, we will invest in a national education service, free at the point of use, so everyone can learn at every stage of their lives.
“I see education like an escalator running alongside you throughout life, that you can get on and off whenever you want.
“That’s what Labour’s National Education Service will offer people - free education, as a right for all. Under our plans, skills and vocational qualifications are valued the same as university degrees.
“We don’t just benefit from our own education, we benefit from everybody else’s too.
“Tomorrow’s jobs are in green and high-tech industries. We need people to have the skills to take those jobs. By ensuring the ultra-rich pay their way, we can provide training to everybody who needs it.
“I’d rather give a break to the worker who wants to learn, than a tax break to the billionaire who wants for nothing. That’s the difference between Labour and the Conservatives.”
Conservative Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said Labour "is making promises that it simply won't be able to fulfil" because its plan to hold another EU referendum means the party "won't be able to focus on domestic priorities like education".
"Only Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will get Brexit done and keep our economy strong, which means we can focus on the people's priorities like education and the NHS," he added.