Ideological Browne review will end up costing taxpayer more

At a time when the government is eager to cut spending, their policy on universities, which will cost money not save it, can only be seen as ideological. The government will pay fees up front, with students indebted to the government for decades.

University funding hit the headlines again over the weekend, with Nick Clegg and Vince Cable insisting tuition fee increases will be capped – Clegg even suggesting his u-turn over his pledge to scrap fees “had to be done due to the financial situation the country was in”. Yet new research out today reveals the Browne Review, if implemented, would not ease this “situation” but instead end up costing government an additional £3 billion a year.

At a time when the government is eager to cut spending, their policy on universities, which will cost money not save it, can only be seen as ideological. The government will pay fees up front, with students indebted to the government for decades.

Left Foot Forward has already highlighted the unfairness of the propsals, which will result in bankers faring better than public servants such as teachers. The new revelations, however, show them not only to be unfair but proposals that will not reduce the deficit in the short-term, as Andrew Harding on the 2me2you blog shows:


Annual government spend on HE funding

 

Current

Browne
Core funding £7,478,145,985.80 £1,637,700,686
Fees maintenance £10,824,313,850.00 £19,740,390,000.00
Total (core + fees) £18,302,459,835.80 £21,378,090,686

Estimated additional cost to govt. of Browne model, for each academic year: £3,075,630,850.50

The blog cites the Higher Education Policy Institute in support and concludes:

“This analysis makes a mockery of any argument that could be made that suggests that reform of Higher Education funding is necessary or required by a need to save money. It does not save money – it costs money, which could be spent more fairly on increasing the core teaching resource.

“This analysis suggests that Vince Cable has lied to parliament, to the press and to his own party.

“And this analysis casts doubt on the commitment of the coalition to their own stated aim of deficit reduction. This reform is clearly a purely ideological move, attempting to reform Higher Education along market-driven lines with no proven benefits and several clear issues, not least the additional costs to young people.

“And can we really afford it? Apparently so.”

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