According to Vince Cable as reported by the Guardian, George Osborne will have to raise university tuition fees significantly above the current £9,000 cap if he proceeds with his plan to make billions of pounds in extra spending cuts…
Speaking at the Lib Dem party conference, Cable said this would probably have to be accompanied by lowering the £21,000 earnings threshold at which graduates start repaying loans and large cuts to the pot of money for student support.
As business secretary, Cable oversaw the tripling of tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000 despite the Liberal Democrat promise not to allow this to happen.
He said he would be “very reluctant” to allow fees to rise again but it was “a choice the next government would have to make”.
Cable said it was all but inevitable if Osborne were to proceed with his plans for a further £25bn of cuts in the next parliament.
He told a fringe meeting in Glasgow: “If the Osborne policy were to prevail, and I was fairly scathing about it yesterday, which is drastic cuts combined with no taxes rises, you would see without doubt – it is difficult to say how they could do anything else – a significant increase in fees, a reduction in the threshold, and the thing that would save money is really taking a lot of money out of student support, effectively by stopping grants and turning them into loans.
“That is how they would probably save money in the university sector. It would be quite painful and we need to point that out a little more explicitly.”
…Cable warned against Ed Miliband’s plans to cut the cap on fees to £6,000, saying it was hard to see where Labour would get the £2bn needed to make up the shortfall in funding at a time of continued spending restraint.
Labour was due to unveil the policy at its party conference in Manchester, but this appears to have been delayed. Liam Byrne, the shadow universities minister, told a fringe meeting at the Labour conference that the party would not make promises it could not keep…”
Fair warning from Vince Cable or a bit rich when he has overseen the rise from £3k to £9k (despite promises to the contrary), won’t rule of further rises if he is in power and is simultaneously criticising Labour for suggesting a cut to the fees cap?
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!