N. Ireland Politics

DUP pledges to oppose tuition fees rise in manifesto

The DUP has pledged to oppose a rise in student tuition fees in its Northern Ireland Assembly election manifesto.

The party says it would support the creation of more than 20,000 new jobs in the next Stormont term.

DUP leader Peter Robinson said they would "continue working to deliver more responsive and efficient government".

"The unprecedented level of stability and solidarity in the province must be built upon and the work of uniting the community must continue," he said.

Launching the manifesto, Mr Robinson said the DUP would block additional water charges.

Mr Robinson said devolution was working, and argued that although a small number of people wanted to "drag Northern Ireland back", things had been moving in the right direction over the last four years.

On the issue of student fees, Mr Robinson said: "The DUP doesn't need to consult on the issue of student fee hikes of several thousand pounds - the DUP is categorically ruling them out.

"The only increase we will countenance is a continuation of the year-on-year inflationary adjustment."

The DUP's manifesto pledges include:

  • Negotiating with the government the power to reduce the rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland;
  • Seeking to introduce a home loan scheme for first-time buyers who are graduates of subjects such as science, technology, finance and business;
  • Holding regional business rates to no more than inflation;
  • Doubling tourism revenue to £1bn over the next decade;
  • Working towards creating a single education system, combining the five education boards into one and supporting post-primary academic selection;
  • Introducing social impact bonds, where investors buy into a bond which funds specialist reoffending work by recognised expert charities - if reoffending rates fall, the investors would get a dividend from the government;
  • Bringing greater productivity and efficiency to the health service;
  • Producing a website giving people accurate information about crime levels in their neighbourhood, and an online service where residents can report such problems as streetlight failure and potholes;
  • Reducing the number of Stormont departments to between six and eight, reducing the number of assembly members per constituency to four or five, and cutting the maximum number of MLAs to 80 by the 2015 assembly election.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites