Tag Archives: browne report

Tuition fees: will Lib Dem MPs split three ways?

How to avoid a three-way car crash with most ministers voting for the Browne Report, some ministers and many backbench MPs abstaining and yet a further group of Lib Dem MPs voting against is now the main debate within the Parliamentary Party over tuition fees.

Some changes to the original Browne report proposals have already been promised, but the debate has now moved on from the question of whether or not there could or should be more modifications to how people will vote on that modified package, which is unlikely to change any further at this point.

Until fairly recently, the party’s …

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Opinion: Let’s hear from Labour their tuition fees policy

What a mess we seem to have got ourselves into over tuition fees. How on earth did we get here?

I can only speak for myself. I joined the party because of its policies on green issues, clarity of thought on civil liberties, regard for international law, opposition to nuclear energy and renewal of Trident, and tuition fees.

This latter policy was very important to me.

I don’t come from a privileged background. At school I was one of the kids on free school meals and to go to university I had a full grant.

I hated free school meals because everyone knew who …

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Charles Kennedy MP responds to tuition fees open letter

Chris Mills has blogged Charles Kennedy’s reply to the open letter organised by Sophie Bertrand asking all MPs to honour their pledge on tuition fees.

Former Liberal Youth Executive member Sophie Bertrand wrote last month on Lib Dem Voice:

We all know that the review is merely a suggestion for how the government should approach this situation. Yet the fact that Nick and Vince seem to be jumping on the Browne bandwagon leads me to expect the worst. It would seem that they need reminding of the slogan we fought with during this year’s General Election

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The Independent View: Liberal Democrats should back Browne

The Vice Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University writes…

I am opposed to what are commonly called ‘top up’ fees in higher education and would resist any move to impose upfront fees for higher education. But, this is not what the Browne recommendations propose.

The weekend before Browne reported I was in despair and angry. It was becoming increasingly apparent that the Coalition government was going to impose a 75-80% cut on the teaching budget for higher education and expect the shortfall to be recovered through an increase in fees.

I am the Vice-Chancellor of a large metropolitan university, with just under 35,000 students. …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 23 Comments

Tuition fees to be capped?

From The Guardian:

David Willetts said he disagreed with one of the main proposals of Lord Browne’s radical blueprint for universities, published last week.

Browne, former chief executive of BP, recommended ministers allow universities to set tuition fees – currently £3,290 a year for students in England – as high as they thought they could command.

Browne said institutions charging more than £6,000 should have to pay a rising percentage of each additional £1,000 as a levy to government. This would mean a university that charges £7,000 would receive 94% of the fee, while one charging £10,000 would receive 81%.

Speaking to vice-chancellors

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Opinion: Browne review is a perfect opportunity

At conference I spoke about the importance of retaining our character in coalition and the importance of having distinctive policies to ensure that, come the next election, people remain clear about the Liberal Democrats and what we stand for.

The Browne review on university funding and tuition fees gives us the perfect opportunity to differentiate ourselves from the other parties.

We have campaigned against tuition fees for years, while Labour introduced them and raised them and the Conservatives seek to create a free market model for our universities.

Part of the coalition agreement included allowing the Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain from …

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Phil Willis writes: fighting the right battles over Higher Education

That Lord Browne’s conveniently delayed report ‘SECURING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION’ recommends a significant shift for the funding of university teaching from the state to the student or graduate is hardly surprising. Indeed in January 2004 when the introduction of ‘variable fees’ was pushed through the House by Alan Johnson I stated ‘the reality is that by 2009 it will not be possible to go back to a system of state funding our universities with flat-rate fees’.

I genuinely believed that to be the case then and despite the most noble of efforts by the Liberal Democrats to …

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Tuition fees – what party members believe Lib Dem MPs should do

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem party members think of the party’s reponse to The Browne Report into higher education funding and student finance in England. Some 567 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results of our survey this weekend.

In the first part of our survey, we reported how Lib Dem members think higher education should be funded, and what changes, if any, would make the Browne Report acceptable to them. Now let’s look at what party members think our MPs should do about that pledge…

Should Lib

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , and | 52 Comments

IFS: Browne offers “a graduate tax by another name”

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have looked at the Browne Report. Their conclusion raises some interesting points.

our analysis suggests that graduates with higher earnings would repay unambiguously more than their lower-earning counterparts.

Under Lord Browne’s proposals, this would for many become a 30-year graduate tax of 9% above £21,000 (with this threshold indexed in line with earnings). Indeed, for the lowest-earning 30% of graduates the actual level of fees makes no difference to how much they repay

Paradoxically, therefore, the more fees go up, the more the system approximates a graduate tax – indeed, a pure graduate tax

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EXCLUSIVE: What Lib Dem members think about Browne and tuition fees

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem party members think of the party’s reponse to The Browne Report into higher education funding and student finance in England. Some 567 party members have responded, and we’ll be publishing the full results of our survey this weekend.

How you want higher education to be funded

First, we asked: How would you prefer higher education is funded?

Here’s what you told us:

  • 54% – Through general taxation (as was the case before 1998)
  • 26% – Tuition fees paid by students after they have graduated according to their earnings

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , and | 41 Comments

Opinion: education is worth more than any price tag

Labour failed a generation of young people and students in this country. They left them with debt, with unemployment, and with a deficit worth £25,000 to each person. But in their final months they did do something to help.

Commissioning the Browne Review in Higher Education Funding reopened the debate on education in this country; it allowed those interested to have their say, and more importantly be listened to. It gave the Coalition Government the chance to reform the education system.

For Liberal Youth, our primary aim is to represent our membership, to do our best for them, and as such we …

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Opinion: We are a party founded on the principle of free education

Liberal Youth Scotland has made a huge impact in the last few years. They have fought for equalities, demonstrated against the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church when they threatened to come to Edinburgh, produced many excellent motions to our Conference where their Quiz/Debate evenings have become the place to be. Their VP-Communications tells us what LYS has been up to and how it feels about the Browne Report.

Liberal Youth Scotland is one of the fastest growing movements in the Liberal Democrats today. Since April, our membership has gone up by over 60%. Over the past two years, we have succeeded in …

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , , and | 8 Comments

Federal Policy Committee confirms party’s tuition fee pledge

From the Liberal Democrats website:

Tonight, Wednesday October 13, the Federal Policy Committee of the Liberal Democrats held their regular meeting.

During the meeting they held a special session to discuss the latest announcements following the Browne Review.

In a statement following the meeting, the committee spokesperson said: “FPC confirms the Liberal Democrat party policy remains to phase out tuition fees.

“We are now in a coalition government and we will continue during the period of discussion and consultation to work with our coalition partners towards achieving a policy that meets our key concerns and is progressive.”

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Opinion: Higher Education should be like the NHS, free at the point of use

Higher Education should be freely available to all, however in its current state it is not. Only those who are academically able can enter the current system of HE. We need more technical colleges and alternative further education institutions.

Tony Blair aimed to get 50% of people into university, by the end of Labour’s term they had achieved 45%, Lord Browne wants to go another 10% further. These are admirable aims. Admirable, but in my opinion wrong. We should aim to have much more of the population complete some type of higher education, but it should not necessarily …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 24 Comments

The Liberal Democrats must not become the battered wives of British politics

So the leaks from the Browne Report were right. The cap on university tuition fees will be removed. A real rate of interest will be applied. The cost of studying for a degree will reach the level of a small mortgage. Many young people will have a lifetime of debt hanging over them as they study, continuing through the years when they would hope to be setting up home and starting families of their own.

What will the Liberal Democrat MPs do now? Before the general election, Vince, Nick and the rest of the Lib Dem MPs committed to abolishing tuition fees and voting against any increase proposed. Now we will see just how strong their mettle is. I have been willing to back the coalition in all the difficult dealings that they have had. I do so as an elected councillor in a local authority with a Lib Dem majority administration, knowing that the actions of the government may not make things easy for us locally. I am not 100% happy about the coalition, but I truly believed and still do that there was no sensible alternative that would have been better for the country or indeed my party in the medium term.

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