Labor is prepared to give up its promise to cut university tuition fees in the UK if it wins power, its leader has said.
Sir Keir Starmer told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the party was “likely to move on from that pledge”, blaming the economic backdrop.
The Labor leader pledged to support fee elimination during his 2020 leadership campaign.
But now he says the party is looking at alternatives for funding.
He added that the current tuition fee system, £9,250 a year, was “unfair” and “not suitable for students nor for universities”.
Asked about the report, Mr. Keir said: “We will probably move on from that commitment, because we find ourselves in a different financial position.”
He added that there are “other ways to approach this,” adding that his party cannot “ignore the current economic situation” ahead of the next election.
University tuition was introduced by Labor under Tony Blair, before tripling under the Conservative-Liberal Democratic Party coalition government, sparking mass protests among students.
Under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, Labor promised to abolish them, along with reintroducing retention grants for poorer students, in the 2017 and 2019 general election manifesto.
In 2019, the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates these policies will cost the public more than £6 billion per group of five universities.
Labour’s leader before Mr Corbyn, Ed Miliband, has proposed cutting fees to £6,000 a year.
In Wales, tuition fees are capped at £9,000, while in Northern Ireland students at home pay a maximum of £4,630 but students from other UK countries may be charged. charges up to £9,250.
In Scotland, Scottish students are eligible for a tuition fee waiver, while those from elsewhere in the UK can pay up to £9,250.
During the campaign to replace Mr Corbyn as leader in 2020, Sir Keir has promised to abolish the charges as part of his plan. 10 leadership commitmentsunder the heading “social justice”.
During his three years as leader, he also reneged on leadership pledges to nationalize energy and water companies, raise income taxes for the top 5% of earners, and “protect freedom of movement when We leave the EU”.
On the Today programme, he said the UK was currently in a “different situation”, including leaving the EU, and now had “the highest tax burden” since World War II.
He added that he had made a “political choice” to waive the pledge to energy companies, after a review by his team last year found it would be “expensive” but will not reduce bills for households.