RAISING tuition fees is “a vital part of building a better future”, Wycombe MP Steve Baker has told students, ahead of Thursday's vote in the House of Commons.

Buckinghamshire's MPs, all Conservative, look set to back the Government's controversial policy on higher education.

The increased payments, which could hit £9,000 at some universities, have led to violence on the streets of London, as a series of student protests took place.

Around 400 Bucks New University students, outraged by the plans, were among those who peacefully marched on Parliament last month.

Liberal Democrats, who pledged to vote against any rise in fees during the General Election, have faced the heaviest criticism.

Following pressure from students, it is still uncertain whether Lib Dem MPs will side with the Coalition Government, abstain or rebel.

But Mr Baker, elected to Parliament for the first time in May, will vote for the policy.

Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve, Aylesbury MP David Lidington, and Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan have confirmed they are also voting for the rise.

Writing to students who opposed the policy, Mr Baker said higher education had to be put “on a sustainable financial footing”.

He wrote: “I have discussed this matter at considerable length not just with Parliamentary colleagues who graduated ten or more years ago but also with my researcher, who is a recent post-graduate.

“He insists that new students entering university would be getting a better and fairer deal than the one he received two years ago. I agree.”

Under the plans, students will not pay any fees up front.

The starting point for graduates to repay loans has been lifted from a salary of £15,000 to £21,000.

Mr Baker cited this “substantial increase” and “the additional option of a further means-tested grant of up to £3,250” as key reasons it would be fairer.

He said, having clearly stated university reform was necessary when campaigning for election, he had to be “consistent, tough as the decision is”.

“I realise you will most likely not agree with my view, but it is my settled intention to support the Government on Thursday.

“I believe this policy is a vital part of building a better future and I will vote for it.”

Mr Baker went to university with sponsorship through a Royal Air Force University Cadetship.

Students would benefit from shorter courses or degrees with a year's industry experience built in, he believes.