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Nigel Farage UKIP at Chatham House
Chatham House via Flickr (cropped from original)

UKIP wants to scrap all tuition fees (except for the arts)

Engineering or science student? You're in luck. Art or design? Nigel says no

If UKIP get into power, the party will do away with university tuition fees. For some people. In today's Daily Telegraph, Nigel Farage promised that he would "scrap tuition fees for students studying science, technology, engineering, maths, or medical degrees". Not you, scrounging arts students. All you guys do is read dumb books and make weird "performance art" and "fashion", right?

Free education is a cause we can get behind, but Farage's failure to mention music, literature, drama or design is typical of the growing disregard for the arts among the UK political class. This isn't just UKIP; at the beginning of the year, critics accused Labour bragging about cutting the arts budget in response to a Tory claim that it would cancel the cuts. In 2013, the coalition government announced that they would slash arts funding by £11.6 million – cuts that are now being felt by libraries, museums, galleries and theatres across the country. 

Sure, engineers are great, but they also need architects and designers to help them envision what they're trying to build. And if students (a traditionally skint demographic) are faced with the chance of studying something for free or paying £9,000 a year, they're likely to pick Further Maths over Fine Art.

Farage's pledge to scrap tuition tees for some subjects may be an audacious one, but it would totally marginalise the creative arts and narrow its appeal to students who have £27,000 to spare.

Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science & Cities, told Dazed that he believes scrapping tuition fees just isn't feasible: "Britain’s top academics have already warned that any plans to cut tuition fees risks "colossal damage" to universities, the economy and set back work widening access to higher education - which has seen record numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds attend university," he said.

"Unfunded and implausible spending commitments like these are a risk to our economic security and would lead to more borrowing and more taxes – with hardworking taxpayers ending up paying more."

Economic realities aside, Farage has proved in a paragraph that he doesn't give a shit about creatives so if you're an art-loving UK voter, here's another reason not to tick UKIP in May (to add to the long list you probably already have).