Sunday, 25 September 2011

Seventh Labour tuition fees policy announced!

Ed Miliband has just promised that a Laboru government would cap university tuition fees at £6,000. It's very interesting to see this new policy though I'm not sure how Labour arrived at it - my guess is they plucked a nice round figure out of thin air.

But, just in order to give some context to Ed's new policy promise, here is a brief history of Labour party tuition fees policy.

1997 - Labour manifesto promises not to introduce fees.
1998 - Labour introduces tuition fees.
2001 - Labour manifesto promises not to increase fees.
2003 - Labour more than doubles tuition fees.
2010, May - Labour enters the election having commissioned the Browne review and committing themselves to support it's recommendations (widely predicted to be unlimited tuition fees).
2010, December - Tuition fees raised to a maximum of £9,000 after Browne review recommends unlimited fees. Ed Miliband states that Labour party policy is to replace fees with a graduate tax.
2011 - Ed Miliband announces that Labour party policy is to support a cap of £6,000.

Now, it might just be me, and I know that the Lib Dems certainly don't have a good record on fees, but how on earth can Ed Miliband's new policy been taken seriously given that it's Labour's seventh tuition fee policy in fourteen years (a rate of a new policy every two years) and that it's Ed Miliband's second tuition fees policy as party leader?

Oh, and I should point out that, if Labour's £6,000 cap really were implemented (after all, they've never broken a promise on fees) then if a student's starting salary after graduating is under £38,300 there would be absolutely no difference between £6k pa tuition fees and £9k pa tuition fees.

But if their starting salary was more than £38,300 then they would repay less under £6k pa tuition fees.

So well done Ed. Another brilliant progressive policy which totally wouldn't benefit the rich more than the poor. Not.

2 comments:

  1. Small point:
    In Labour's 1997 manifesto they promised to follow the review that ended up recommending fees, so instituting fees didn't break their manifesto promise.
    Also, didn't the Browne review recommend a cap of £12k? I'm not sure about that one... might of imagined it.

    The rest of it was spot on though.
    Their latest announcement is particularly bad. Surely they understand that reducing the fees to 6k is just giving a tax-payers subsidy to high-earning graduates??

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  2. "Also, didn't the Browne review recommend a cap of £12k? I'm not sure about that one... might of imagined it."

    The Brown review recommended no cap at all if I remember rightly... which is pretty much what the Tory's want as it makes higher education a completely free market... likely leading to 'gourmet vs. fast food' style extremes of higher education institution. Not a good idea in my view, so glad that one was stopped dead.

    It appears most independent advice shows that the majority of people will be paying the same back whether fees are £6k or £9k - an important point which students have conveniently never really been told by Labour or the NUS as they continue to try and scare them for their own political reasons. Ironically this means that the government is basically underwriting that part of the loan which doesn't get paid off... so they are ALREADY reducing the amount of debt people will be liable for, except they are doing it aft the end once it's been shown a student didn't earn a fortune after going to uni, instead of at the beginning when there is no way of knowing what kind of benefit the university education will provide for the student... in other words, the governments proposed scheme is tougher on higher earners and those that get more out of university than Labour's proposal would be.

    In that light Ed's offer to drop fees to £6k actually doesn't seem to good, especially as it means those earning higher wages would pay less and Universities would still need to get that funding from either government (where it already gets it from via the fees loan money)

    I notice Ed was also very quiet about the benefits of that raise to £21k from £15k before anything starts being paid back - he could at least have acknowledged how much this helps students by significantly reducing their monthly payments, especially at lower salaries.

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