Tony Colman MP for Putney writes

In this week's diary for our MP covers Top-Up fees, threats to close local primary schools and on the national stage the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Top - up fees
Last week saw the annual Labour Party Conference, this year held at Bournemouth. One of the many issues under discussion at Conference was the controversial top-up fee proposal. My own views on the subject differ from the Government's current proposals. I do not believe that top-up fees are a good idea and fear that they will inhibit students from poorer families from choosing elite universities.

I gave an interview on Radio Four's World at One from Conference in which I pledged to lobby the Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, to get this proposal dropped. If the Government insists on carrying through with the proposal I fully intend to vote against the Government on this issue.

My own views on University funding stem from my personal experience. I grew up in rural Norfolk and came from a poor farming background. I was lucky enough to attend a grammar school and then to be given the opportunity to study at Cambridge University. I do not think that I would have been prepared to pay the higher fees elite universities such as Cambridge will be able to charge if the current proposals go through.

I will be following developments on this issue closely and would welcome the comments of Putney residents.

Threat to Primary Schools
Further to my last diary entry I have now heard that Wandsworth Council are threatening to close two popular schools in the Putney area, Ronald Ross and Southmead in West Hill. The Council maintains that there is a 25% surplus of places in these schools. While I understand the economic argument it is important that young children should be able to find school places locally.

I will be consulting with the Education Department of the Council and with the head teachers concerned.

Inter-Parliamentary Union

After attending the Labour Party Conference I went to Geneva to attend the 109th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly where we discussed the subject of Global Public Goods such as the provision of clean air and the eradication of disease. I hope the efforts of the Inter-Parliamentary Union will help further action on these important transnational issues.

Tony Colman MP

For more information about what I've been up to and how to contact me go to my web site

Tony Colman MP

For Labour Party information:
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For Parliamentary Information:

October 8th, 2003

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