Loans sell off would not affect students but funding system needs reform

The National Union of Students has been reassured by Ministers that sale of the student loans book will not impact student paying back their loans. But conservative think tanks, such as Reform, have been urging politicians to consider saving £1.2 billion by introducing market rates for student loans while the Confederation of British Industry have suggested that, in addition, grants should be cut.

The National Union of Students has been reassured by Ministers that sale of the student loans book will not impact student paying back their loans. But conservative think tanks, such as Reform, have been urging politicians to consider saving £1.2 billion by introducing market rates for student loans while the Confederation of British Industry have suggested that, in addition, grants should be cut.

NUS President Wes Streeting told Left Foot Forward:

“The sale of the student loans book will, in effect, have no impact on the repayment conditions facing graduates. We sought the assurances of ministers that this would be the case during the passage of the Sale of Student Loans Act, which empowered ministers to take this course of action.

“There are, however, two important questions that need to be raised: firstly, is the Government getting a good deal by selling the loan book at this particular time? Secondly, Government and opposition parties need to carefully consider whether a tuition fees system that leaves graduates deeply indebted and the taxpayer out of pocket is the best system for financing higher education.”

The NUS has published alternative funding proposals for a system that is “fairer, more progressive and supports widening access.” The proposed system would also save the exchequer money in the longer term by removing the need for tuition fee loans. Wes Streeting

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable, said:

“The student loan book is a slightly easier thing because it’s government backed, but they’re going to get very distressed prices. This is not a good time to sell assets.”

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2 Responses to “Loans sell off would not affect students but funding system needs reform”

  1. Mark

    Indeed, it’s not a good time to sell assets. Worse, it’s bad planning to announce you’re flogging a range of assets because you need the cash. It only highlights how desperate you are and as we know, forced sellers get bad prices.

    Is there any area of economic policy that Gordon Brown does not bungle?

  2. Roger

    The real question is just how little the govt are now planning to get for the loan book.

    Back in 2007’s budget they were talking about raising 6 billion by 2010/11 but by the end of 2008 the Dept were telling the DIUS select committee that a sale was impossible in current market conditions.

    Now that £6 billion seems to have shrunk to a subset of a total £3 billion that will include the Tote (which must be worth at least £140m even now) the Dartford Tunnel (book value is £400m), Urenco (which should be worth several hundred million if it can be sold at all?) and the Channel Tunnel rail link (which could be worth £2bn+ itself but has £800m in debts to pay off first).

    If as this all suggests they are looking to sell £6 billion worth of student loans for a fraction of that value this looks like a scandalously bad deal for the taxpayer.

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