30 May 2019 – the overnight press releases

Davey: Stopping Brexit only solution on citizens’ rights

Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report on the EU Settled Status scheme, published today [Thurs 30th May], Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The Liberal Democrats have long been warning that Brexit will create a new Windrush Scandal.

No one really believes that the Home Office will successfully grant Settled Status to all 3.6 million EU citizens before the arbitrary 2021 deadline. And no one should be reliant on a Home Office IT system to prove their right to live and work in the UK.

We support any efforts to improve the scheme, but the only way to properly guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU is to stop Brexit altogether through a People’s Vote.

Moran: Augar Review will con students into thinking they are paying less for a degree

Responding to the Augar Review, published today [Thurs 30th May], Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

The Conservatives have conjured up a con trick that makes 7 in 10 new graduates pay more for having attended university.

For most students, cutting tuition fees will not reduce how much they pay by a single penny. In fact, these recommendations make low- and middle-income graduates pay back their loans for longer.

Theresa May’s swansong will leave universities with a budget black hole. Her successor must confirm that they will provide grant funding to cover the costs of cutting tuition fees, as Augar has suggested. If not, many universities will cut widening participation budgets and drop subjects that are too expensive to teach.

At least the review recommends bringing back maintenance grants, but it fails to tackle the sky-high interest rates on student loans after graduation.

By contrast, Augar’s recommendations on further, adult and vocational education are promising. But he could learn from the more flexible approach taken by the Liberal Democrats’ proposals for a Personal Education and Skills Account, which would give every adult the opportunity to learn for free wherever they want, whenever they want, with careers guidance in place to support them along the way.

But these proposals for universities cannot simply be rubber-stamped. The Conservatives cannot be allowed to put headlines above rational policymaking.

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3 Comments

  • Peter Watson 30th May '19 - 11:24am

    “Theresa May’s swansong will leave universities with a budget black hole. ”
    Back in the early days of Coalition we were told that tuition fees above £6000 p.a. would be “exceptional cases”, so would reducing the cap to £7500 really be anathema to Lib Dems?
    And doesn’t drawing attention to interest rates and loan repayment make it a bit trickier for the party to push the line that it’s really just a graduate tax?

  • Peter Watson 30th May '19 - 11:29am

    As an aside, what is the Lib Dem position on university tuition fees in Scotland?
    Is the party pressing for them to be increased for Scottish students so that Scotland can benefit in the same way as England and Wales?

  • David Garlick 31st May '19 - 12:04pm

    University Fees have gone to the maximum as they spend whatever they can to promote their establishment in competition with others. Universities have diversified into public life in their communities which is admirable but they seem to be the only area in public realm that has any money to spend. Clearly they have not been hampered by austerity in the same way that local government has and that has been funded by students to a level that has not been appropriate.

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