The Independent are reporting that the Tories have “maxed out the nation’s credit card” and now students and graduates are being left to foot bill, a parliamentary debate on a retrospective loan hike has heard.
The hard-fought-for debate was led by Helen Jones, Labour MP for Warrington North and chair of the Petitions Committee who, in her opening remarks, said “what’s happening at the moment is simply and totally wrong.”
In a hard-hitting statement which was echoed by other MPs throughout the debate, Mrs Jones also said: “The worst thing about this decision is it is retrospective. A commercial organisation would not be able to do this, but the measures it imposes on others it appears [the Government] is not prepared to adhere to itself.”
The debate was triggered following mass outrage when the Government made a U-turn on a 2012 promise by freezing the student loan repayment threshold at £21,000, meaning graduates are now being forced to pay back more on their loans than originally promised.
More than 130,000 people signed a petition, calling on the Government to overturn its decision which said that, by introducing retrospective changes, it “threatens any trust had in the student finance system.”
Jo Johnson was the only Tory present at the debate and, at the end, sought to address concerns by insisting the move ensures England’s higher education system is on a “sustainable footing.” He also described how university graduates today “benefit hugely” in terms of jobs compared with non-graduates, meaning higher salaries. He said: “We need to make sure higher education funding remains sustainable.”
Should students have to foot the bill in order to the solve the government’s financial problems? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Nellie
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