Sir Keir Starmer is preparing to “move on” from Labour’s commitment to abolish tuition fees.
The Labour leader, who committed to abolishing university tuition fees when he ran for the leadership in 2020, pointed to the “different financial situation” as the reason behind the planned policy shift.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Keir said: “We are looking at options for how we fund these fees. The current system is unfair, it doesn’t really work for students, doesn’t work for universities.”
He said the party would, in the coming weeks, “set out a fairer solution”.
“We are likely to move on from that commitment because we do find ourselves in a different financial situation,” he told the programme.
But he added that he did not “want that to be read as us accepting for a moment that the current system is fair or that it is working”.
The shift, first reported by the Times newspaper, comes following months of speculation that Sir Keir was considering moving on from the pledge.
The Labour leader did not spell out what plan or policies would replace the current stance but told the programme: “You and others would be quizzing me hard if I just simply said I’m going to ignore the current economic situation and just press on with something, notwithstanding the cost.”
Tuition fees sit at a maximum of £9,250, with the current system introduced by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition in the face of severe opposition from students.
Related: Political biographer says Johnson ‘absolutely did not’ believe in Brexit