A national day of action took place on 18 September in protest of government proposals to replace maintenance grants with a loan system.

Universities minister Jo Johnson, Chancellor George Osborne and London mayor Boris Johnson are among the MPs targeted by campaigners on Thursday.

“An NUS called strike beat Thatcher in the 70s, we have a duty to try every tactic and asset our power to save education.”

The demonstration followed an announcement in July by the Chancellor detailing a plan to scrap maintenance grants and switch to a loan system after 2016-2017.

The National Union of Students argued that the plans would stop students going to university as a survey found that 35 percent of respondents would have chosen not to go to university without the help of the maintenance grant.

Megan Dunn, president of the NUS, stated that action was taken in a bid to secure a U turn in policy in regards to the maintenance grants proposals.

“It comes as no surprise that the students of this country recognise the profound and damaging effects the cuts to maintenance grants would have,” she argued, “When a third of students are saying that this cut would stop them going to university, the government needs to sit up and take note.”

On the 11th September the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts called for a student strike in response to cuts.

“When a third of students are saying that this cut would stop them going to university, the government needs to sit up and take note.”

Sahaya James, NUS NEC member stated, “With five years of the Tories ahead of us we risk completely losing education as we know it, from brutal attacks to an increasingly inaccessible system that shuts out the most marginalised and vulnerable epitomised by the scrapping of maintenance grants. The student movement needs ambition, vision and a long term strategy that educates, empowers and importantly wins. An NUS called strike beat Thatcher in the 70s, we have a duty to try every tactic and asset our power to save education.”

A protest was conducted by a group of students in Jo Johnson’s constituency in Orpington, Kent.

Furthermore, the Brunel Students’ Union protested outside Boris Johnson’s office in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, the Free Education Manchester group lobbied the chancellor in his Tatton constituency and Goldsmiths Students’ Union is targeting Zac Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond.

Hannah Eves

Image: theguardian.com

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