Tuition fees – Labour can't have it both ways

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So Labour finally confirm their policy on tuition fees. A cap at £6,000 a year, funded by curtailing pension tax relief.

So, this will mean that high earning graduates pay less, while low earning graduates pay the same.

What baffles me, is that Labour’s argument for the change is that graduates are not paying back the “loans” at the rate predicted, thereby ‘loading more burden on the national debt/taxpayer’.

But that is rather a foot-shooting argument. They are basically accepting that the post-2012 tuition fees scheme is not as onerous on graduates as they – Labour – said it would be. Well, it’s great for them to accept this at last!

So they seem to be saying that they are not going to even attempt to make the tuition fees scheme more progressive – indeed they will make it more regressive. Instead they are going to give relief to high earning graduates and fund that from pension tax relief changes. But that won’t reduce the burden on the taxpayer will it? Unless they get more money into the national coffers from the pension tax changes than they pay out to high earning graduates through the £6,000 cap.

Labour’s policy here is a complete mess. They don’t really seem to know what they are doing.

And we have more Guardian writers talking about ‘saddling a generation with debt’. Well, can I have some of this “debt”? “Debt” where I only pay it back when I earn more than £21,000 a year and then I only pay 9% of my income above £21,000, so that if I earn £25,000 I just pay £6.92 a week, which is half what most families spend on booze and fags in a week. And the “debt” gets written off after I only pay 40% of it. And the “debt” doesn’t go on my credit file, and if I stop working I don’t have to pay it, and I won’t get chased by debt collectors if I don’t pay it, and I won’t lose my house if I don’t pay the “debt”.