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Clegg's apology over tuition fees

(37 Posts)
longfingernails Thu 20-Sep-12 00:01:15

I think it is very risky, but probably the best way out of the Lib Dems (and his) enormous credibility hole. It was always a stupid pledge to make, frankly, knowing that both Tories and Labour were committed to the Browne review process.

But by subtly reminding the Westminster village that it was Vince Cable who was in charge of actually drafting the tuition fees legislation, Clegg can dramatically reduce the credibility of the quisling socialist responsible for the anti-Business Department. See how Cable was made to squirm by Paxo tonight! And now that Laws is back, the Orange Bookers can rise ascendant over the SDPers...

At the same time, there is a mindless section of the British voting populace, who feel "moved" by politicians undergoing the masochism strategy (see Tony Blair's temporarily semi-successful detox over Iraq). I don't understand it myself, but it obviously works.

What is good is that the current political atmosphere seems more coalicious than in recent times, and there accordingly seem to be progress on several fronts (most notably, more excellent work by Gove, ably assisted by Laws, on exam reform).

The Lib Dems need to realise that their ridiculous obstructionist strategy DOES hurt the Tories, yes, but it also hurts them. If they can be seen to be more responsible, and acting in the national interest rather than fighting like ferrets in the proverbial sack, then they might be able to build upon the (very shaky) plateau afforded by Clegg's apology.

somebloke123 Fri 28-Sep-12 17:15:44

Taxing people for wanting to learn is just plain sht

Well if education is not to be funded through taxes then either you have to

1. Rely wholly on the private sector to fund it e.g. through sponsorships and scholarships, or

2. You have to persuade all university staff to work for free. Good luck with that.

If it is to be funded through taxation, the alternatives are basically:

3. Full grants funded from general taxation, so the David Camerons of this world doing their Oxford PPEs are paid for by all taxpayers regardless of whether they went to university, which will include quite low paid people in menial jobs, or

4. Taxes paid by those who both did go to university and also get more than a certain amount i.e. the present "loans" system, which are not loans in the normal sense but a sort of graduate tax.

1. Not gonna happen
2. Ditto
3. Grossly unfair
4. Worst option with the exception of all the others.

I do agree though about current loans only covering fees and some of accommodation, so that extra living expenses are needed.

dreamingofsun Fri 28-Sep-12 17:26:10

somebloke - graduates generally will pay more in taxation anyway and the whole population will benefit from their expertise (or at least that from some of the courses). people on very low pay had/or should have had the chance to go to uni - possibly they decided they didn't want to commit to the work involved.

if we are to have a professional, world leading workforce then we need qualified and bright people. deterring them from study seems to me a backward step. how are we to have leading organisations to sustain the economy if we as a country aren't prepared to train people - and its these people who will provide the jobs for the lower paid.

all the arguments please use to justify student loans, could in effect be used for A levels as well. Why shouldn't people pay for these if you use the same logic?

Timeforabiscuit Fri 28-Sep-12 17:40:12

I would argue that the current system works far too much in the favor of employers.
A degree is more often seen as shorthand to have candidates of a certain level educational rigor.

If degrees were not generally needed - they'd simply advertise must have 3 a-level A-C, but employers put the emphasis on degree - why is this??

The benefits of qualification should be met by those principally seeing the benefit - employers!!!!

Timeforabiscuit Fri 28-Sep-12 17:46:19

The only reason that business doesn't pay is because it would hit Local Government, NHS and Teaching far far harder than the government would like.

The most likely career for a Geography Graduate is a secondary school teacher.

somebloke123 Fri 28-Sep-12 17:53:18

It could indeed be used for A levels - in fact for any education beyond the minimum school leaving age - but that's not currently proposed.

No one need be deterred from starting a degree course on the basis of needing to repay the fees. They will only pay back anything if they start earning more than a certain amount. IIRC its 11% of anything they earn above £21500 (gross) and the repayment is deducted before tax.

So if you earn £23,000 you will pay graduate tax of 11% of £1,500 which is £165 per year or under£14 per month (paid before tax)

Compare with the cost of a TV license, which I think is about £145 per year, paid after tax.

The difference is that if you lose your job or your income falls below £21500 you will no longer be required to continue the loan repayments but you will have to continue paying your TV license.

People (not you) who go on about graduates being "saddled with crippling debt" or other alarmist outbursts are doing potential students a great disservice.

dreamingofsun Fri 28-Sep-12 18:09:18

somebloke - i find your attitude somewhat strange. as a parent of kids who are at/about to start uni i always thought i'd be encouraging them like mad. now i find i am questioning the whole thing.

i realise that its currently not proposed for A level students to pay - i guess most people realise this.

if my kids went to uni and only ever earnt £23k i would be grossly disappointed. it would have made the whole experience and cost pointless - both for them, us and the country at large. they could have earnt this amount working in the local supermarket with no qualifications at all.

why are you talking in terms of losing jobs? whats the point in the country paying for people's degree's if they can't keep a job? we should be thinking more in terms of educating talented young people in areas where we need graduates.

Timeforabiscuit Fri 28-Sep-12 18:13:41

I do earn over that amount and pay out two lots of childcare, am not making repayments and seeing this debt and it is a debt ramp up and up with the interest.

and its £165 at the lowest repayment level and steps up proportionally - and hugely!

dotnet Mon 01-Oct-12 08:37:12

Reallly sorry for your situation Timeforabiscuit. What it really boils down to is that this posh boy English government doesn't understand how ordinary people think. To them, a borrowing of £27k for education is a mere bagatelle. Posh boy Nick Clegg dragged down his party by reverting to type under the influence of pudding face. He's apologised - but how does that help our clever sixth formers?

niceguy2 Mon 01-Oct-12 09:22:32

*but does the current situation provide enough return given the risk is all on the individual - a young and financially inexperienced one given the stakes.

By the risk - I mean the extra money you need to source via credit cards and overdrafts as loan will only cover fees and partial rent (not everyone can get a bursary).*

But that's always been the case. Even back when I was a student and didn't have to pay fees, my grant just about covered digs and a little bit extra I guess. But we all still lived on our student loans and overdrafts.

as a parent of kids who are at/about to start uni i always thought i'd be encouraging them like mad. now i find i am questioning the whole thing.

My DD will be going to uni in a few years. Once you look past the whole "staggering sum of debt" then it actually isn't bad. Like I said, look at it more as a monthly outgoing like a pension payment. In reality your child probably won't even notice the deductions since they are made via the payroll.

if my kids went to uni and only ever earnt £23k

Yes me too. BUT we all start somewhere. I left uni and started at the bottom. I fully expect my children will too. I don't expect them to land a graduate fast track position cos they are rarer than hen's teeth nowadays.

As I have told my daughter, having a degree is not a guarantee of a good job. Much will depend upon her own work ethic and to a certain extent blind luck. BUT statistically you will still earn more over a lifetime than without. Of course she could be the next female equivalent of Richard Branson but the odds are against her.

So if you want a good job with good pay, what you gonna do? Go to uni and join the statistically more likely to succeed group? Or not go and take your (smaller) chances?

and its £165 at the lowest repayment level and steps up proportionally - and hugely!

But even when you are earning £50k which is a take home of around £3k per MONTH then your repayments are around £217. It is more but it is still very affordable. If you are against paying more as you earn then you must also be very against the higher rate tax of 40% & 45% then.

Lastly and this is aimed at nooone in particular. I find it sort of ironic that when it comes to taxes we hear that those who earn more should pay more. Yet when it comes to their own child paying more (because they earn more) that all of a sudden that looks unfair. It seems it's ok to ask those with to pay more towards benefits but not their own education?

dreamingofsun Mon 01-Oct-12 10:35:54

niceguy - i have no problem with my children paying more tax, the more they earn - someone quoted on here that something like 80% of tax revenues come from those earning over 50K. What I do object to is that they have to pay a separate tax on top of this - ie graduate tax.

niceguy2 Mon 01-Oct-12 12:22:45

I do understand where you are coming from but like I said, the whole thing needs a mindset change. Once you make the shift, it's not actually too bad.

The state has 'invested' in your child's education and is expecting it's return on investment in the form of more taxes if/when they earn more. It's a win for your child in the sense that if they don't earn, they don't pay and the govt loses. If they earn the big bucks then everyone wins.

You said you are questioning the whole thing. What is it you are questioning?

For me the logic goes something like this:

1) Ideally I want my kids to get their uni education for free. That isn't realistically going to happen.

2) The current system looks ok if you forget the headline figures and focus on the monthly repayments. Not ideal but there you go.

3) Statistically my child will earn more money with a degree than without.

4) My job as a parent is to give my kids the best opportunities I can give them. After that they make their own way in life. Given 3), it seems better than expecting them to get a job at 18.

The other side of the coin is that you can't make the mindset change and encourage your child to just go to work since uni is expensive and hope for the best.

One thing the new system will do (and about flipping time) is to make students & parents concentrate on degrees which will be useful in the real world. Over the last decade there was an explosion of degrees which were designed to attract students but arguably had very little value in the real world. Ie. Is that 3 year philosophy degree going to be good value for money? What job prospects will you have at the end of it?

dotnet Thu 18-Oct-12 09:47:18

niceguy2 I just looked for where I could see your most recent post listed as I wanted to let you know, following your question at the end of August under a different topic heading, that 'my' 80 year old retired trawlerman had fallen through the benefits net (see what I did there?)
He is now 81 and is getting pension credit incl housing benefit, backdated by six months.
I hate to think of all the people who don't get the help and support they need, especially when I know about the exploitative businesses paying staff little over £6 an hour, employing 'internees' (slaves) for no money, evading corporation tax, etc. etc.
Incidentally a Lithuanian man showed me his last (temporary) contract of employment the other day - it had been for a two month stint, working for an engineering company. The company has now extended his term, but the contract he showed me (expiry date: September 12th just gone) shows his rate of pay as £6.12 an hour, This was for a thirty year old family man.
Does the company need reporting, or is this rate legal if you're a foreigner on a temporary contract?

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