Sussex

Families march through Lewes over student fees

Alex Luetchford
Image caption Alex Leutchford said it was clear students were against the fees increase

More than 300 people have marched through an East Sussex town to demonstrate against rises in university tuition fees.

Protesters marched through Lewes, whose Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker backed the fees increase despite the party's election pledge to oppose any rise.

The march was organized by pupils from the Priory School, who were joined by parents and teachers.

Mr Baker said the vote was an "extraordinarily difficult" decision.

Saturday's march set out from Nevill Green and marched down Lewes High Street to Cliffe Precinct.

Organisers said they wanted Mr Baker, who was in the constituency, to be aware of the frustration of the next generation of voters.

Thousands of people took part in protest marches in Brighton ahead of Thursday's tuition fees vote in the House of Commons.

The coalition government won the vote to raise tuition fees in England to up to £9,000 per year, with a majority of 21.

"I think it is a terrible shame because there have been so many protests against it and it is clear the students don't want it," said GCSE student Alex Luetchford.

"I certainly don't want it."

Image caption Sarah Hitchings said her children would end up with massive debts

Mother-of-three, Sarah Hitchings, who also took part in Saturday's march, said: "I feel as a family on a moderate income that we won't be able to support our children financially.

"They are going to leave their college education massively in debt."

Transport minister Mr Baker said voting for the rise was the most difficult decision he had ever made in politics.

"I decided in the end I had to vote for it," he said.

"It was partly because the policy is actually much better than people think it is, and is the least worst option on the table at the present time, and also because we signed up to a coalition agreement.

"If Liberal Democrat MPs had voted against, that would have meant the end of the coalition."

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