House of Lords approves student fee rise

LONDON Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:37am GMT

A demonstrator holds a banner during a protest in Westminster in central London December 9, 2010. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

A demonstrator holds a banner during a protest in Westminster in central London December 9, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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LONDON (Reuters) - The House of Lords on Tuesday approved government plans to nearly triple tuition fees paid by university students.

The unelected assembly voted to raise student fees at English universities to a maximum of 9,000 pounds a year, backing a decision taken by the House of Commons last week.

Peers rejected Labour amendments which would have sent the plans back to the lower house for redrafting.

The decision to shift the burden of paying for university tuition from the state to students is part of broader government efforts to cut government spending by 19 percent over the next four years.

The measures have led to protests by students across England. Last week young demonstrators rioted around parliament in London as MPs debated the plans in the Commons, and attacked a car carrying Prince Charles.

The popularity of the Liberal Democrats has slumped since some of their MPs broke a pre-election pledge to oppose a rise in fees and voted for the increase with their Conservative allies.

(Reporting by Tim Castle, editing by Tim Pearce)

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