WHILE Theresa May has been busy U-turning on the Tories plans to make the elderly pay for their own care, Labour has announced a policy for the younger generation. The Party has announced that it will scrap tuition fees for university students starting or continuing a course from this September.
The announcement comes on the last day for joining the electoral register in order to vote in the General Election on 9th June. Young people form a significant proportion of the approximately two million people who have registered since the “cut and run” election was announced. It seems that Labour’s attempt to offer a genuine alternative to the Tories has tempted younger voters out of a general apathy into an enthusiastic desire to engage with the political process.
Labour’s announcement did not go down well with their main opponents.
•The Tories said that more poorer students than ever are going to university. However, Labour’s argument was that uni fees are going because education should be free of charge at the point of consumption. Tuition fees requires a small army of bureaucrats to collect the money and causes more undergraduates to take out student loans – on which there is a very low rate of return. In effect, what the state is not giving out in central grant to universities, it is paying out in writing off unpaid elements of student loans. It’s all turned out to be another way of shovelling public money into the private banking system. It’s far more efficient just to let students go through the system and then, as graduates, get higher paid jobs and pay more tax.
•The Lib-Dems were even more grumpy, claiming that better off students would gain the most from the scrapping of tuition fees. The Party has not explained how this can be the case – and scrapping tuition fees would leave all students benefitting. With the average student taking their first degree leaving uni with over £40k in debt, they are not spending out on houses, homeware, leisure activities, etc. Abolishing fees – and therefore the debt – liberates a massive chuck on private money which can be invested in getting the economy going again. But doubtless the Lib-Dems have their reasons why they want to keep new graduates in hock to the banks.
In the meantime, millions of students and sixth-formers – not to mention their mums and dads – must feel like a weight could be lifted from their shoulders. On the other hand, the Tories don’t even want to shell out on a school dinner for five to seven year olds. These very different approaches to education will give voters a great deal to think about in the next few days.
•Read more about it:
Jim pledges support for anti-education cuts campaign
May pushes through last minute hike in uni fees
•You have until midnight tonight, Monday 22nd May, to apply to join the electoral register. The easiest way of doing this is to apply online on the government website – but don’t wait till the last moment, as the process can take five minutes and the website may slow down if there is heavy use just before the deadline. Have your National Insurance Number handy and go to: