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Labour's tuition fee plans will only help wealthy graduates

February 27, 2015 11:17 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Labour's plan to cap maximum tuition fees to £6,000 is deeply regressive. Under their plans only the wealthiest graduates would benefit.

Only graduates with a starting salary of at least £35,000 would pay less. A salary only paid for by a handful of big City firms.

This compares to an average graduate starting salary of £21,700.

Independent experts, such as Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com, have called Labour's plan "financially illiterate" because it would help those with more money rather than those with less.

The Universities UK board has said such a cut would "damage the economy, affect the quality of students' education, and set back work on widening access to higher education."

The current system is working. There are a record number of applications, with the rate of disadvantaged students applying to study in higher education hitting an all-time high.

Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

"Labour's policy is based on a soundbite, and as a result, is completely financially illiterate. It will do great harm to universities and create a costly black hole in the national budget.

"For a party presenting itself as a government in waiting they are showing staggering ignorance of how university finance works.

"Talk about the current system being unsustainable is rubbish. The OECD, who has no political axe to grind, said the English system is totally sustainable and works well.

"A £6,000 cut would wreck the financial sustainability of universities, reduce the support for disadvantaged students and benefit only the richest.

"We learned this lesson the hard way but we now have a system that works, with university funding made fair and sustainable by Liberal Democrats.

"This shows in a record number of students and a record number of those from disadvantaged backgrounds applying to university."