Nick Clegg says coalition will cap university fees

NICK Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, yesterday said the government would impose a cap on university tuition fees.

Lord Browne, the former BP chief executive who recently carried out a review into higher education funding, has recommended that universities be allowed to charge as much as they like. A levy on institutions charging over £6,000 a year would discourage them from going much higher.

However, Clegg yesterday admitted he was “uneasy” about unlimited tuition fees, and aides said he was working on a compromise that would see fees capped at around £6,000. The existing cap stops universities charging more than £3,290.

Asked if tuition fees would be capped, Clegg replied: “Correct”.

The apparent volte-face comes as deputy Liberal Democrat leader Simon Hughes, a standard bearer for the left, warns that the government cannot rely on Lib Dem votes to get its housing benefit cuts through parliament.

Hughes said that three of the proposed seven changes to housing benefit set out in the spending review were the “wrong ones"”and would need to be altered if Lib Dem MPs were to support them.