MANY hundreds of students in Kirklees will be put off seeking university places because of top-up fees, it was claimed today.
Students from less well-off families will be particularly hard hit, it was forecast.
The blast came from Liberal Democrat councillor John Smithson, who is Kirklees Council's Cabinet member responsible for education.
He said: "Independent assessments show that top-up fees will mean many students - both in Kirklees and nationally - will end up with debts of £25,000 or more.
"This is an intolerable burden for young people in their early 20s seeking their first job.
"Many may never see the debt repaid, and it will clearly affect their opportunities in buying a decent home."
Clr Smithson said it could also have a negative effect on the local economy if the fees caused student numbers to fall at Huddersfield University.
"The university is a very important institution, which provides first-class education for thousands of students from Kirklees and the wider world," he said.
"Threats to the numbers of students - which top-fees will cause - could have a devastating effect on the university's financial stability."
Tories on Kirklees Council also attacked top-up fees.
Their leader, Clr Robert Light, said: "The Labour manifesto in 2001 said they would not introduce tuition fees for students. This is another lie from this discredited Government.
"These fees will discourage our own young people from becoming students."