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Jeremy Corbyn denies promising to write off student debt

Mr Corbyn said he wanted to look at ways to reduce, ameliorate, lengthen the period of paying off debt. Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn has denied promising to write off student debt during the General Election campaign.

The Labour leader said he could not make a commitment dealing with debts students owed for their education as "I couldn't at that stage".

During the run-up to the June 8 vote, Mr Corbyn said he wanted to look at ways to reduce, ameliorate, lengthen the period of paying it off or "some other means of reducing that debt burden".

But he told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: "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."

In the interview with NME, he added: "And 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."

Mr Corbyn said the comments had not been a "commitment" to erase student debt and admitted the party had not known at the time how much that would cost.

The Labour leader said the party would be making a statement on the issue in the near future.

"We never said we would completely abolish it because we were unaware of the size of it at the time," he added.