A COUNCILLOR last night warned that universities could “go to the wall” if tuition fees are tripled.

Parliament will decide tonight if the maximum annual charge can rise from the current figure of £3,375 to £9,000 by 2013.

The council’s Cabinet member for young people Clr Ken Smith was asked for his opinion of the plan at last night’s monthly council meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall.

The Ashbrow Labour man replied: “There could potentially be a 300% increase in tuition fees which would be a disaster for children from families that are not extremely well-off.”

Clr Smith also raised the prospect of universities going bust if enough young people are put off applying by the increased cost.

He said: “I think our local higher education institutions are in a position where they can protect themselves.

“But if other higher education institutions go to the wall over this, it will put pressure on them.”

However, Lib Dem councillors spoke in favour of the Government’s plan.

Clr John Smithson of Almondbury described the changes as “a much better deal” than the current system because student debt would be written off after 30 years.