Today in the Scottish Parliament, Fiona Hyslop announced that the SNP Government is scrapping the £2,000 Graduate Endowment. This is a major first step in reducing the burden of debt on Scotland's students and graduates.
The Graduate Endowment was introduced by the previous Labour-Lib Dem Executive, as part of a deal to pull the wool over the eyes of Scotland's students who were told that tuition fees had been scrapped. In reality, they were just re-branded as the Graduate Endowment and the demand for payment was moved from the start of a course to after graduation.
The SNP believes that access to university should be based on your ability to learn, not your ability to pay. Saddling students with mountains of debt is in no one's interests - not the students, their parents, the taxpayer, our economy and our society.
Today, the SNP Government has taken an important first step in reducing the scandal of student debt in this country. It was most unfortunate to see that the Labour Party could only whinge about this in Parliament today. At least the Lib Dems appear to have seen the error of their ways on this issue, and back the SNP's policy to scrap the Graduate Endowment.
I look forward to the Government bringing forward more proposals to help reduce student debt in the future. Taken together, the SNP's manifesto package of proposals for students will restore fairness to the system of higher education funding and reintroduce the concept of free education.