Putney candidates questioned by students at Roehampton University hustings

The Green Party candidate for Putney in the General Election promised to introduce free travel for students should he be elected.

Ben Fletcher, the first deaf blind person to run for parliament, made the promise to students while speaking at a University of Roehampton hustings last week.

The Southfields resident also supported the abolition of the current tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants.

He said: “Education is not a product for sale. It is something everyone should enjoy. I will work to write off all of your current tuition fees and prove that education is not a commodity.”

Tuition was a common point of discussion at the hustings.

Most candidates promised to eliminate the current fees and make university education more accessible with the return of maintenance grants.

Secretary of state for education and Conservative candidate Justine Greening said: “At the moment, universities in this country only admit students to a level that fills a specified quote. Sometimes you get the grades but you still don’t get in.

“I want to make university something that anyone of any background can aspire to. If you fit the criteria, you can go, regardless of the financial standings.”

Labour, on the other hand, had a different perspective.

Candidate Dr Neeraj Patil was unable to attend, so councillor Sue McKinney spoke on his behalf.

She said that Labour would focus on the demographic of students more interested in skill education, such as apprenticeships, introducing more funding to the scheme.

She added they would welcome international students to their universities, due to the significant position they hold in the working market.

UKIP candidate Tricia Ward wanted more options for working while studying, so that students could gain a job relevant to the degree they were getting, after her own experiences working full-time alongside her Masters degree.

She said: “When I graduated, I already had a job. That piece of paper didn’t mean anything. What meant something were the clippings I had gained as a journalist.”

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