Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Facts on fees

There are a lot of myths about the tuition fees issue floating around, generated by the left from Labour party HQ via the media to the NUS.

Here is a website explaining the facts, in writing. It should now be much clearer what the reality is and why, and what impact it will have in one's own specific circumstances.

It has to be said that, whatever the merits or otherwise of university students paying (back, one day) even some of their costs, if the country had been in even a half-decent state financially after Labour's thirteen years it is unlikely that tuition fees would have been needed at all, and perhaps they could have been scrapped. After all, they were introduced by Labour, as were the top-ups, and it would have been good to scrap them altogether.

Hopefully, by implementing the Coalition's proposed measures now, that will become a very real possibility with in a few years, once Britain is back on its feet and England in particular. It could never have been so under Labour, and that is a vitally important fact. Labour were always introducing new and increased taxes, dozens if not hundreds of them, including inventing prescription charges (why? don't we already pay for the NHS via National Insurance?) and that is where the fault really lies, despite the attempts of their dishonest supporters to divert attention away from the real culprits.

For now, we'll have to live with this - and at least it's a lot better than what it replaces! Even the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which rarely offers ringing endorsements of the Coalition Government's position, has today stated that the proposals are "more progressive" (yuk! I hate that word!) than either Labour's original scheme or even Lord Browne's proposals after his (former Labour government-commissioned) review.

Indeed, with only forty out 80,000 of the poorest students having gone to the dozens of Oxbridge colleges in recent years, and (as Baroness Warsi reminded us on today's BBC Daily Politics) no black folk at all last year, it's time to get some real social mobility and aspiration for all into our nation's students - and that will now include part-time and mature students in many cases. Part-time undergraduate-level students make up around forty percent of the total, so it is right to include them in any new policy.

Meanwhile, Alan Johnson has changed his tune and now appears to be in favour of the graduate tax that Ed Miliband supports, after all! Note that this could well mean a total bill of some £54,000 over the years, at around £100 per month repayment - far more than the Coalition's £6,000 or so (max £9,000) at barely £40 per month repayment rate.

Incidentally, not all students have been taken in by the (Labour member Aaron Porter) NUS president's spin: there is even a Facebook group in support of the Coalition's reforms, currently with well over a thousand "likers", as proof.

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