Miliband attacks “shoddy” fees scheme

Ed miliband responded to David Cameron on tuition fees today, attacking the "shoddy scheme" the government is proposing. Yesterday, the prime minister, in a column in the Standard, defended the trebling of fees, and said that "before protesting, students need to get the facts straight". Today, the Leader of the Opposition said "universities and students deserve better" than what the government is offering.

Ed Miliband responded to David Cameron on tuition fees today, attacking the “shoddy scheme” the government is proposing. Yesterday, the prime minister, in a column in the Standard, defended the trebling of fees, and said that “before protesting, students need to get the facts straight”. Today, the Leader of the Opposition said “universities and students deserve better” than what the government is offering.

He wrote:

“Mr Cameron claims the trebling of fees is unavoidable. That is simply not the case. His Government has chosen to target a huge and disproportionate cut on our universities.

“Overall government expenditure is being cut by an average of 11 per cent. Yet Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg have chosen to target an 80 per cent cut on the public funding for teaching in our universities.

“Why? They give no justification other than that the losses universities face can be covered by the huge increase in student fees and student debt which they propose.

“Mr Cameron claims his plans are necessary to maintain the quality of our world-class university system. However he neglects to mention that under his plans, fees of £7,000-£8,000 a year are needed simply to replace lost income.”

Left Foot Forward has previously outlined the coalition’s draft plans to cut the teaching budgets of some universities like LSE and SOAS in their entirety – passing the entire cost of tuition from state to student. The scrapping of state funding of arts, humanities and social sciences degrees will result in 73 universities seeing teaching budgets cut by more than 75 per cent.

Mr Miliband goes on to write that:

“…his scheme will see those on middle incomes who take longer to repay their loans accumulate more interest, and pay back a higher proportion of their earnings than those on high pay.”

Last month, Left Foot Forward showed that bankers would fare better than teachers under the Browne Review, that although those on lower incomes will pay back a smaller proportion of their loans, graduates in top paying jobs will end up making smaller contributions than students on middle incomes.

The Labour leader also says:

“Our long-term aim is a fairer graduate tax system.”

Writing on Left Foot Forward in July, president of the National Union of Students Aaron Porter set out how a graduate tax would work in practice, explaining:

“A true graduate tax is a clear and progressive way of funding universities and removes any link to ‘sticker prices’ decided by institutions based on their self-aggrandising assessments of the future worth of their degrees.

“Choosing a place and course of study is not like buying a car and we will ensure that any system that places students in a market place cannot call itself a progressive graduate tax.”

Mr Miliband ended his column by asking how the prime minister could expect the public to buy his arguments if the Tories’ coalition partners can’t even bring themsleves to vote for the proposals:

“The weakness of the Government’s case is clearly an issue for Mr Cameron’s Coalition partners.

“Yesterday we saw Vince Cable, the minister responsible for universities, indicate he and his Lib-Dem colleagues are preparing to back down from supporting their own bill.

“When Mr Cameron can’t persuade his own Government he is right, how can he expect the country to buy his argument?”

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10 Responses to “Miliband attacks “shoddy” fees scheme”

  1. alexsmith1982

    RT @leftfootfwd: . @Ed_Miliband attacks "shoddy" fees scheme: http://bit.ly/fPGnd0 writes @ShamikDas

  2. maxy

    Where are the figures in your analysis which show just how much it would cost the government to maintain current funding ratios for universities as opposed to the cost involved in underwriting a thirty year period of loan repayments. Where are the figures? In other words, which of the two schemes costs less????

  3. Gary Banham

    Some basic problems with the government's plans for HE: RT @leftfootfwd: . @Ed_Miliband attacks "shoddy" fees scheme: http://bit.ly/fPGnd0

  4. Anon E Mouse

    I’d have thought that after the “Son Of Brown” took such a mauling at PMQ’s today the last thing LFF would do is remind Labour supporters just how bad Little Ed actually is.

    Since they never had the balls to get rid of the useless Gordon Brown and lost the election because of their cowardice, may I suggest deposing the loser, installing his brother and cutting the links with the irrelevant trade union dinosaurs before it’s too late.

    It’s already too late for Little Ed – he had his chance and blew it – don’t let loyalty fir a loser cost the Labour Party 5 years from now.

    Because if Little Ed is “running” the party still it most certainly will….

  5. Chris

    @mouse

    What an insightful, on topic comment…

    If you aren’t a tory press officer and are actually what you claim to be, you have a very sad life.

  6. Cicero21

    @Maxy

    “Cost” is unfortunately not a linear thing. If the Government had money in its pocket, then, yes, spending it outright is considerably cheaper than a loan repayment scheme. But, since the Government is out of money and is borrowing, a loan repayment scheme allows the Government to move it “off balance sheet” so to speak. Whereas direct funding would be an “expenditure”, a loan for tuition fees would be an “asset”. So, it won’t show up in the deficit. It is a clever idea. It would have been fine if it was used to supplement the Government’s funding instead of replacing it, as currently proposed.

  7. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband attacks "shoddy" fees scheme http://bit.ly/eyQ06R

  8. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – I am exactly what I say I am and if my life is sad (in your opinion) then what’s yours?

    You are supporting a loser in Ed Miliband – you’ll have done the same with Gordon Brown – and if Miliband is still the Labour leader at the next election the party is going to take a whacking.

    I actually think he gets it but he just hasn’t got it.

    It may be because he’s never done a single days work in his life, Harriet Harman took him on after university for goodness sake. It may be because he’s a tax avoiding property millionaire who doesn’t understand how normal people live. It may be because the PLP didn’t elect him, because he wrote the last Labour election campaign, because he only got in because of the union dinosaurs – I don’t know what it is but he needs to be out and his brother in ASAP.

    Or spend time in opposition which suits me. And many many more like me….

  9. Mr. Sensible

    Maxy, in the Guardian on Tuesday they reported on a study which suggested that writeoff costs will jump by 9P in the pound as a result of these proposals.

    This is a bad deal for students, and a bad deal for the taxpayer.

  10. Chris

    @mousey

    “I am exactly what I say I am and if my life is sad (in your opinion) then what’s yours?”

    Compared with your pathetic existence I’m a bloody rock star. You’re really a computer repair man who can’t even pay himself the NMW and gets his kicks trolling over LFF – give up buddy and get a job shelf stacking.

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