NUS Wales, the nation's student representative body, has staunchly criticised a government announcement that university tuition fees are set to rise in line with inflation.

From 2018/19, students in Wales will pay £9,295 a year in fees, with this set to increase on an annual basis under the Welsh Government's proposals.

But the government has stated this will be offset by an increase in student grants in Wales, set to equate to students receiving the National Living Wage whilst at university.

NUS Wales President Ellen Jones said: "I am extremely angry that the Welsh Government has chosen to allow students to bear the brunt of the Westminster austerity agenda.

"While we welcome some aspects of these arrangements, namely around the National Living Wage, no matter what the Welsh Government says, today’s announcement makes the mission of getting students into higher education harder – not easier.

"Our approach to student finance is that Wales should be moving pragmatically towards fee-free education.

"So, let me be very clear: we do not support any rise in fees."

Welsh Government education secretary Kirsty Williams said the change in policy was a "knock-on" effect of a similar decision in England and was necessary for Welsh universities to compete with institutions internationally.

Ms Williams added she believed it was living costs, not tuition fees, which were the primary barrier to young people at university and that the changes would help alleviate this.

"It is widely recognised that high living costs are the greatest barrier to young people studying at university. Our new system is a fundamental shift in the way we support students and our institutions," said Ms Williams.

"Wales needs a stable and sustainable higher education sector that delivers for our communities and economy. Our universities must be able to compete domestically and internationally. Jobs, prosperity and national well-being depend on it."