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Tuition fee cuts would come into force next September

Ed Miliband has said a £3,000 cut to university tuition fees would come into force in September 2016 if Labour are elected.

He told supporters it would will benefit not only those starting degree courses next year, but "those already at university" and slash an average of around £9,000 off each student's debt.

Mr Miliband also said that maintenance grants will be raised by £400 a year, and that Labour is "determined" to help students with their living costs.

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Miliband pledges to cut university tuition fees to £6,000

Labour leader Ed Miliband. Credit: pool

Ed Miliband has pledged to cut university tuition fees from £9,00 a year to £6,000.

The Labour leader said if the party were voted in at the General Election they would make life better for young people.

He also pledged to offer:

  • 25 hours of free childcare for every child aged three and four
  • Lower class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds to 30 or under
  • Guaranteed apprenticeships for teenagers if they get the grades at 18

Labour defends relationship with tax claims firm

Labour reported receiving almost £400,000 worth of staffing time in three months from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) - the accountancy firm recently accused of promoting "tax avoidance on an industrial scale".

A list of top 'donors' to Labour during the final quarter of 2014. Credit: Electoral Commission

The support relates to the secondment of PwC staff into the offices of the party's frontbenchers - a practice which also took place during the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats' time in opposition prior to the last general election.

The party's MP Margaret Hodge, also chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that investigated the company over allegedly aiding tax avoidance, said at the time that such relationships were "inappropriate".

Ed Miliband has recently launched a major campaign against tax avoidance, and pledged a review of how HMRC investigates such claims.

However, his party defended its relationship with PwC in a statement.

Given the complexity of government decisions in areas such as tax policy - and that opposition parties do not have significant access to civil servants - the support provided by organisations such as these helps ensure that there is better scrutiny of Government policy.

– Labour Party statement

Tories beat Labour in latest pre-election funding round

Political parties are attempting to build funding ahead of the election. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive

The Conservatives reported over £1 million more in donations than Labour in the last three months of 2014, new figures show.

As the parties attempt to build up their election war chests, the Conservatives reported receiving £8.35 million between October and December, while Labour reported £7.16 million.

Over the same period, the Liberal Democrats reported £3.03 million, Ukip £1.5 million and the Green Party just under £250,000.

The £20.33 million in total donations reported by political parties was more than £5 million higher than the previous three-month period.

It is also above the £17.4 million recorded in the final quarter of 2009 - the equivalent period ahead of the 2010 general election.

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Labour loses Harriet Yeo as she quits to back Ukip

Harriet Yeohas left the Labour party to support Ukip. Credit: Facebook - Labour Medway Group

A senior member of the Labour party has become the latest politician to back Ukip.

Harriet Yeo resigned because of Ed Miliband's refusal to offer a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Yeo, the former chair of Labour's ruling National Executive Committee, said she was not defecting to Ukip but would support their campaign.

The former leader of the Labour group on Ashford Council in Kent is now expected to stand as an independent.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: "I'm delighted that Ukip can now count upon the support of such respected figure as Harriet Yeo."

Ed Miliband unveils apprenticeships plan

The Labour leader Ed Miliband travelled to the West Midlands to set out his economic plan, which focused on offering tens of thousands of new apprenticeships. But his big announcement was partly overshadowed by a small one from his shadow Chancellor. Ed Balls - said people should always get a receipt for cash transactions. That prompted the Tories to claim that Labour is out of touch.

ITV News political editor Tom Bradby reports:

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