KEIR Starmer has said his dreams of going to university as a teenager would nowadays have been crushed because it costs too much, despite dropping a pledge to scrap tuition fees earlier this year.

The Labour leader – who went to Leeds University before studying at Oxford as a postgrad - said the impact on young people that fees have “should shame the Conservatives” and accused the Government of a "deep betrayal of aspirational Britain".

The remarks would appear slightly paradoxical given Starmer ditched a promise to get rid of tuition fees if he became prime minister, with them currently standing at £9250 a year.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "There wasn't any spare money knocking around to fund me going to Leeds. I worked before I went and then got by on grants, as many young people do. I vividly remember carefully calculating rent, bills and food.

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“Going to Leeds to study was a turning point for me. It will be a deep betrayal if one of the legacies of this Tory government is university, apprenticeships and skills becoming the preserve of the wealthy.

"Tory economic failure choking off the dreams of the next generation is a deep betrayal of aspirational Britain. Talent and aspiration should drive young people - not the affordability of rent, or soaring food prices.

"I vividly remember the excitement of moving to Leeds to study law. It was a financial stretch then. If I were a student today, I wouldn't be able to go."

Back in May, he said Labour would be moving on from its commitment to abolishing tuition fees.

He said: "We are likely to move on from that commitment because we do find ourselves in a different financial situation."

Fees for university were first introduced by Tony Blair in 1998 at the maximum price of £1000 per year. They were abolished in Scotland in 2000 after devolution.

Speaking to LBC on Tuesday morning, Starmer pledged to change the "unfair" student funding system south of the Border but did not specify how he would do this.

Asked about his plans, he said: “I do think the current scheme is unfair and ineffective and that is why we will change it, so the current scheme will be changed by the incoming Labour government and we will set out our plans.

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“I am not going to pretend that there isn’t huge damage to the economy and that has meant that some of the things that an incoming Labour government would want to do we are not going to be able to do in the way we would want.

"But it doesn’t mean we are going to leave the current system as it is, because we want a fairer deal for students, a more effective deal for students and for universities.”

Pressed again on what Labour’s offer might be, Starmer said: “We are working up our proposals on that and I will fully come back and talk them through when we got them.”