Scottish Tories U-turn to back free university tuition

Douglas Ross said young people have had their education 'disrupted like no other' during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Conservatives will support free university tuition in Scotland at the next election, Douglas Ross has said.

The party had called for a graduate contribution to fund higher education at the last two Holyrood elections, but the party leader said this position should be reassessed.

Ross made the announcement at a Young Conservative fringe event as part of the UK Conservative party virtual conference.

He said that young people have had their education “disrupted like no other” during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ross said: “This group of young people have had their education disrupted like no other. 

“They’re losing out on life-defining experiences and they’re going to be entering the job market at the most difficult time. 

“We cannot burden them any further. So now is the time for the Scottish Conservatives to re-think our policy on introducing tuition fees and a graduate contribution.

“Our manifesto will support free tuition for university.”

The party supported the abolition of tuition fees in 1999 and 2003, before proposing a “root-and-branch review” of education funding in 2007 and backing the introduction of a means-tested graduate contribution in 2011 and 2016