THE SNP have challenged parties in Westminster to match their record on education after it was revealed that the Tories plan to drop their pledge to cut tuition fees in their manifesto.

The Tory decision, which will burden students with thousands of pounds of fees follows a previous decision from the Tory-LibDem coalition which scrapped the Education Maintenance Allowance and trebled university tuition fees in England to £9250 a year.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government scrapped the graduate endowment – a backdoor tuition fee introduced by the Labour-Liberal administration – for students graduating from April 2007.

Since then more than a quarter of a million Scots have graduated from university – including record levels of people from some of the most deprived communities.

Carol Monaghan, SNP education spokesperson, said: “Education must always be a right and not a privilege to those who can afford it. The SNP is the only party that has not just promised free higher education, but delivered it.

“Rather than doing the right thing and scrapping these toxic tuition fees, the Tories are set to continue burdening students in England with average debt now over £50,000 and increasing inequality as those from poorer backgrounds are left behind.

“The Westminster parties have a track record in selling out students, with Labour introducing top-up fees and the LibDems cosying up to the Tories to treble tuition fees to £9k and scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance.The Westminster parties must now commit to matching the SNP Government’s record on education by abolishing tuition fees once and for all.

“A vote for the SNP in this election will ensure Scotland’s escape from the damaging Tory agenda.”