Jeremy Corbyn: I never promised to write off student debt

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Mr Corbyn said in an interview that he would 'deal with' student debt

Jeremy Corbyn has said he “never promised” to write off student debt during the General Election campaign.

In a key pledge Labour promised to scrap tuition fees later this year – and Mr Corbyn also vowed to “deal with” the debts of students who have already graduated.

He told NME magazine in June he wanted to look at ways to reduce, ameliorate, lengthen the repayment period or “some other means of reducing that debt burden”.

He added: “I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after.

“I will deal with it.”

This week Mr Corbyn was accused by senior Tory Iain Duncan Smith of using students as “electoral fodder” by indicating he would wipe out their debt.

But the Labour leader said his remarks had not represented a “commitment” to erase student debt and admitted the party had not known at the time how much such a move would cost.

Mr Corbyn said he would be making a statement on the issue soon.

He told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I did not make a commitment we would write it off because I couldn’t at that stage.

“I pointed out we had written the manifesto in a short space of time because there was a surprise election but that we would look at ways of reducing that debt burden, recognising that a lot of it is never going to be collected anyway and try and reduce that burden.”

He added: “We never said we would completely abolish it because we were unaware of the size of it at the time.”

Mr Corbyn said he would be making a statement on the issue soon.

He told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I did not make a commitment we would write it off because I couldn’t at that stage.

“I pointed out we had written the manifesto in a short space of time because there was a surprise election but that we would look at ways of reducing that debt burden, recognising that a lot of it is never going to be collected anyway and try and reduce that burden.”

He added: “We never said we would completely abolish it because we were unaware of the size of it at the time.”

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