To hit the LibDems, Labour give £2 billion to graduates earning 32%+ above the average wage

Details of Labour’s tuition fees policy are emerging today. There is a proposed higher maintenance grant and higher interest rates for higher earning graduates. It will remain to be seen how much those two changes alter the regressiveness of the main proposal to reduce the fee cap to £6,000.

That basic policy proposal is to take £2 billion from pension tax breaks and give it to graduates who earn 32% above the national average wage.

This is because many graduates will not pay back their full tuition fees “loan” under the current scheme. So only those earning £35,000 or more will get an advantage from Labour’s decrease of tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000, as Mark Pack explains:

The key thing to remember when judging changes to the existing tuition fees policy is that many people will get their fees written off rather than paying them off in full. In fact, it’s the possibility that it may be so many that the system ends up not saving very much money which has been a consistent thread of recent coverage.

So reducing the headline fees figure for all those people simply means that they end up paying the same – but the sum that gets written off at the end is smaller, rather than larger. The only people who benefit are those who would have paid off all or most of the fees – which isn’t the poorest but the better off. For today’s Labour figures it looks like it will only benefit those earning £35,000 per year or more – well above the average.

Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis wryly comments:

The one positive of this plan is that cutting tuition fees is likely to reduce fear among those who don’t understand the system.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • This is just laughable now. First Clegg and Cable broke their pledge, promising that fees above £6000 would be exceptional having set up a system under which anyone with the faintest grasp of economics would realise that almost all students would be paying £9000 and then they want us to be appalled at a cut to the £6000 they said it would be in the first place?

    Actually, what their mostly doing is paying the money now rather than having students live almost their entire working lives under that weight of debt before it falls back on the tax payer many years down the line. And the coalition have the cheek to accuse Labour of placing debts on the next generation?

    A cut to £6000 is not enough, but it is at least a step in the right direction after the Lib Dems betrayed everyone who voted for them on the basis of their promise not to support any rise. It was always unlikely that we could get rid of fees in a single step after that, it will need to be cut back in steps.

  • Get there fees written of after 30 years if basically going to university has proven to a fruitless search to earn oneself higher wages. Some people who earn enough will pay less and those that don’t will still have the debts written off. What exactly is so bad about this? In say comparison to pledging not to increase tuition fees or even to remove them and then say tripling them instead. The bottom line is that Labour will reduce the tuition fees and plug the gap in funding sooner, whilst the current scheme will have to be written off later. To students it will just look like they will owe less under Labour.
    Personally, I’m in favour of getting rid of tuition fees just as I was in 2010 and just as this party was. Any reduction is as far as I’m concerned is good because it will make the total removal of the fees easier.

  • Well, at least the Lib Dems are consistent between 2010 and now in opposing a maximum fee of £6,000.

  • paul barker 27th Feb '15 - 3:22pm

    The current lead article on Labour List covers the Fees proposal, when I looked the comments seemed roughly split 3 ways, support, against for similar reasons to us & against because it doesnt go far enough.

  • Daniel Henry 27th Feb '15 - 3:26pm

    Jack, if you take the time to learn how loan system works, you’ll find that under the new system the lowest paid graduates will actually less compared to the old system (due to lower repayments and higher chances of the “debt” being written off before they’ve paid it all off) and that Labour’s policy will only reduce payment for those who would have otherwise paid off their entire debt, i.e. those who get highly paid jobs.

    You seem to be cheering the cut to £6,000 as a symbolic gesture even though it won’t actually put any money back in the pockets of the lowest paid graduates. Most people out there care more about actual practical outcomes.

  • @Daniel Henry: Well, if you only care about the lowest paid graduates then, sure, there are people who will never pay back a penny now, didn’t under the old system or the one before and won’t under the proposed one. I care rather more about the broader principles of the matter: it’s wrong to make people pay for education, doing so damages that education and it’s wrong to pile debts on to young people so large that they won’t have paid them off when their own children go to university.

    I see you also chose to ignore my wider point that most of the money here isn’t going to any graduate what it’s doing is changing the system so that less of the can is kicked down the road and instead of being dumped onto government debts down the road when they’re inevitably not paid off in full. That strikes me as a “practical outcome” worth having regardless of the other issues.

  • Oh, and since this is being paid for by a reduction in pension relief for the very rich even the transfer of money involved is progressive in nature.

  • Daniel Henry 27th Feb '15 - 3:51pm

    Jack, someone somewhere is going to be paying the bill. If it’s not the graduates themselves, it’s going to come from taxpayers in general, requiring payment from those who haven’t directly benefited in such a way.

    Speaking as someone who’s paying back tuition fees, given the opportunities it afforded me I think it’s right I should be contributing back.

    Yes, the reduction in pension relief is progressive, but there’s more progressive ways to use that money than to reduce tuition fee payments for graduates on £35k+. You might be sick of hearing the Lib Dems saying this, but using that money to raise the tax threshold is an example of a more progressive use of that money.

  • stuart moran 27th Feb '15 - 3:54pm


    And here goes the rub….

    It seems Lib Dems, and their Tory friends, are all happy to say that most people will not end up paying the full amount so anything now done to cut tuition fees just helps ‘the higher paid’

    Firstly, this makes me interested to see what the Lib Dem policy will be for 2015 and secondly it says to me there is a sleight of hand going on here

    The cost of HE is made up of

    borrowing/taxation + tuition fees

    At the moment the tutition fees are virtually funded by Government borrowing as there is no payback yet. This means we have a Government funded HE system in effect

    The question now is who pays it back – is it the student or is it the future taxpayer?

    There are severe doubts that the loans will ever make up the money intended and so either the terms will have to change or the borrowing will have to be paid by the taxpayer at a future date – how much will this be, well it could be a very large figure indeed. The US has been going through a similar problem in recent years and the numbers are scary

    This is a typical Coalition policy – it pretends to be something it isn’t and the goalposts keep changing! I find it difficult to find one Coalition policy that has kept to target – imimigration, deficit reduction, HE funding, Universal credit etc – without being rewritten or rehashed and pretending to be a success when a failure

    I think the system as set up now is dishonest and want to see a complete overhaul so it is more transparent as to who is paying what – the fact you have to keep explaining a policy means it is not a success – and I still fear tat a future Government will change the terms so it will not look quite so cuddly…..

  • stuart moran 27th Feb '15 - 3:59pm


    Oh that old canard about ‘people who did not attend University not benefiting’ – well in my view – so what? Let those people self-treat and live in caves so not to take advances of benefits due to educated people…..

    I don’t have kids…can I opt out of child education – why is education to 18 considered suitable but not 21? I also do not drive – rebate on pollution and road infrastructure costs please? Someone does not use the train – rebate for them?

    Your society is not one I would want to be part of

    Noboday gets a free education…..I and my parents paid for it through taxes

  • stuart moran 27th Feb '15 - 4:00pm

    oh and sorry Daniel but who gets the most benefit from increasing the tax threshold – the very poor or those who pay taxes?

  • Really? This from a party that told us that it would not increase fees and then, after the u-turn, told us that anything above 6k would be an exception. How many times does your party want to commit suicide? Are you aiming for 5% in the polls?

    @Daniel Henry
    “Jack, someone somewhere is going to be paying the bill. If it’s not the graduates themselves, it’s going to come from taxpayers in general, requiring payment from those who haven’t directly benefited in such a way.”

    The average graduate earns much more than the average non-graduate. The extra tax they pay over their lifetime more than covers the cost of their tuition, thus non-graduates do NOT subsidise graduates. When we add fees in to that equation then it is actually the case that graduates massively subsidise non-graduates. You’ve completely fallen for the Tory philosophy of persuading the ignorant poor that they would benefit from the cutting of taxes when, in reality, they are net beneficiaries of the redistributive system and would come off much worse as a result.

  • @Paul Walter
    “Taking from the very rich and giving to the modestly well-off, rich and very rich.”

    The system introduced by the coalition disproportionately hits graduates on middle-income, e.g. teachers, nurses – the very people who work very hard to get where they are for a very modest return in remuneration. So, any system that reduces the burden on those hit the hardest by the coalition’s tuition fees at the expense of those who got off the most lightly, e.g. very high earners who pay a much smaller fraction of their lifetime pay in repaying the fees, must be a good thing, no?

  • Might I suggest that opening a thread criticising anyone over ‘Tuition Fees’ is not in the best interest of the LibDem party….
    I suggest that the issue of fees will be brought up, to our detriment, by other parties….the old adage of “Holes and digging! comes to mind…

  • Daniel Henry 27th Feb '15 - 4:20pm


    The policy was set up to ensure that graduates would only pay a penny if it was a small part of a good wage, i.e. easily affordable.

    Yes, this means that it hasn’t contributed to deficit reduction as much as we initially hoped it would – I think we only expect around half of all the money loaned out to be paid back, but making this scheme affordable for students was a higher priority.

    You may have a point about the transparency of the system, but outcomes are even more important.

    With regards to raising the threshold, anyone working full time gets the full benefit, but I acknowledge that the poorest in society aren’t in that position so don’t benefit. However, raising the threshold is still far more progressive than Labour’s bizzare promise to reduce loan payments for the richest graduates.

  • @Daniel Henry: “[S]omeone somewhere is going to be paying the bill. If it’s not the graduates themselves, it’s going to come from taxpayers in general, requiring payment from those who haven’t directly benefited in such a way.

    The same is true of further eduction, also paid for by those who didn’t go to college and get A-Levels; all education paid for by taxation of immigrants; healthcare for the elderly paid for by those who die young; and on and on and on. Education is a public good. Living in a well educated society is good for everyone in it, regardless of whether they went to university or not. Saddling the next generation with a massive debt is bad for society, whether they themselves have to pay that debt or not. Kicking the can down the road so that taxpayer of tomorrow has to pay for the incompetence of Clegg and Cable in setting up the fees system is not good.

    Oh, and “You might be sick of hearing the Lib Dems saying this, but using that money to raise the tax threshold is an example of a more progressive use of that money”?

    The tax threshold rise SO FAR was not progressive and the proposed future rise will be even less so. Tax threshold rises are *primarily* a give away to the middle and upper middle part of the income spectrum. It might form a reasonable part of a coherent mix of progressive tax changes but paid for by slashing benefits to the least well off and devaluing in-work benefits like the coalition have? Nope, not progressive.

  • Paul Walter,

    “..since this is being paid for by a reduction in pension relief for the very rich even the transfer of money involved is progressive in nature.”

    Taking from the very rich and giving to the modestly well-off, rich and very rich.

    The people’s flag is deepest red…

    It’s more redistributive than the current system. And, it’s not as if the Lib Dems have proposed taxing rich investors more and using the money to pay for education, is it?

  • Paul Walter

    For those asking why we’ve covered this – (a) it’s all over the news and (b) the hash Labour have made of this shows that the tuition fees system introduced from 2012 was not a bad compromise given that we are 270 seats short of an overall majority and that record numbers of 18-year-olds from poorer areas have applied to University this year.

    How many seats short of an overall majority do you expect to be after the May election, which will be the first opportunity the public have to judge you at the ballot box on your policies in government?

    Is there a rising trend of more poorer 18 year olds going to university since 2010? If so, are there other explanations for this (such as the economic downturn), than tuition fees?

    Why would someone be more likely to go to university with £27,000 of debt than £18,000 worth of debt, or even £9,000 worth of debt, given previous fees policies, or no debt at all, as in Scotland?

    Is it possible that fees have no bearing on poorer 18 year olds going to university?

  • So a *cut* to £6k is bad because it’s a Labour policy yet when the coalition said fees would *rise* to £6k average with £9k maximum, that was all ok ?! How hypocritical can you get !!

    What was that about £9k being the exception rather than the rule again – oh yes, an absolute porky !

  • Paul.
    The coalition has introduced changes that pretty much make higher education or training pretty much compulsory. Of course more young people are going to university. Yet youth unemployment is still rising. So what you’ve got is a system that encourages people to take on a huge debt or have no money at all and then lumbers any government a couple of decades down the line with the expense of writing it off. Let’s be honest, the education system is being used to cover the failure of successive governments to create jobs for young people and tuition fees is just a way of making it look like a saving in the short term. I’m pretty certain that future governments with the encouragement of the Press will be labelling a lot of the graduates of today bludgers and insisting they will make them pay back the money they “borrowed from taxpayers” by picking up litter or something of the sort. Either that or they will kick it further down the line by raising the age people can legally be unemployed to 25 years old.

  • Change the headline

    To Hit Labour, Liberal Democrats gave pensioners £12 Billion pounds extra in welfare.

    That is what happened due the triple lock, winter fuel allowances, TV Licences etc.

    Lets not forget the Hundreds of Millions of pounds that tax payers are going to have to pay for the 4% on Government Pensioner Bonds available to well of pensioners with savings up to £40k

    I actually can not get over how hypocritical the party is being over the tuition fee’s.

    First you appose tuition fee’s at all
    Then you appose a rise in tuition fee’s
    Then you do a U-turn and support a rise in tuition fees to £6k rising to £9k in “exceptional circumstances”
    Then you appose a Liberal Democrat policy to reduce tuition fees to £6k

    And people wonder why the party is lacking credibility with the public

  • Dr Michael Taylor 27th Feb '15 - 5:14pm

    The current policy is costing more than anyone thought. Reducing the fees makes it even less financially sound. In a time of austerity I think that the money taken from very wealthy pensioners could be far better spent on for example raising the level of benefit for the unemployed, sick and mentally ill.

  • As A Lib Dem I reckon we should shut up, put our head below the parapet and stop reminding people of our incompetence back in 2011 , that created the hole we have been digging ever since.

  • “Then you appose a Liberal Democrat policy to reduce tuition fees to £6k”
    Should have read
    appose a Labour policy


  • stuart moran 27th Feb '15 - 5:29pm
  • Julian Dean 27th Feb '15 - 5:36pm

    @Paul Walter

    And yellow is the new blue……

  • stuart moran 27th Feb '15 - 5:39pm


    I am amazed at this and it does the party no favours by talking about it

    It is good politics even if people might snipe around the policy itself in a whingey fashion – they won’t mind!

  • David Evans 27th Feb '15 - 6:25pm

    The totally predictable, expected Labour vote grab as happened. Ed Milliband has made it his personal promise and cut the ground from under another part of the Clegg Coetzee plan. Basically for every person who felt betrayed by Nick’s reneging on his pledge (be it student, parent or even grand-parent), they will now never look at voting Lib Dem probably ever again. Those of us with an ounce of foresight were warning things like this would happen, and the only way was to get rid of Nick and say sorry. Sadly it’s too late now and it is a long way down from here.

    It’s noticeable only two Lib Dems are commenting in Nick’s defence, but sadly anyone who thinks “If you take the time to learn …” is a vote winning strategy needs to take time to learn a lot about elections.

  • David Allen 27th Feb '15 - 6:33pm

    From the Lib Dems favourite independent expert, Martin Lewis:

    “Labour isn’t the first one to be financially illiterate over the tuition fee issue. The Coalition itself did it when it set up the new 2012 system. Not just because it fundamentally miscalculated how much people would repay, but also because it allowed universities to offer some poorer students a choice between a fee waiver and cash as a bursary. …I was out there shouting vociferously: “Make sure you take the cash.””

  • If high fees are so much better than lower fees, can I ask the obvious question: why stop at £9,000? Why not £15,000? £25,000?

    Yes, the Labour proposals will mean taking money from people earning £150,000 and giving it to people earning £35,000 (who have been hit disproportionately hard by the current system and will STILL have a huge debt, so it’s not as if they’ll be rolling in it). At what point in the Lib Dems’ political journey of the past five years did such an idea become a bad thing?

  • It may be a good idea for the party to follow the Buddhist notion of ‘noble silence’ when it comes to criticising other parties on tuition fees.

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th Feb '15 - 6:44pm

    David Allen – This is interesting and non-partisan.

    There are, necessarily a huge number of variables in this over huge time scales. I don’t claim that I fully understand the mechanics here, but from what I do understand relatively small changes in various factors can have a large impact on projected repayments (up and down).

    The key question is how, ‘fixed,’ are the terms. Will the payment threshold drop or be eroded by inflation? Will 30 years become 35, 40? Will the interest rate increase? And so on.

  • LJP: “from what I do understand relatively small changes in various factors can have a large impact on projected repayments (up and down). The key question is how, ‘fixed,’ are the terms. Will the payment threshold drop or be eroded by inflation? Will 30 years become 35, 40? Will the interest rate increase? And so on.”

    Well, quite. Einstein said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. Introducing a real interest rate (in the Labour scheme, the real rate was zero) was one of the factors leading to the eye-watering payoff values we read about.

    Then, as you rightly say, there is the threshold. The government has claimed it intends to start increasing this in line with earnings from 2016, but the fact is it can do what it likes with the threshold – the system was designed deliberately so that these parameters are much easier to change than in the previous system. There have been reports recently (e.g. by Martin Lewis) that the government is already considering scrapping the threshold increase as a means of making up for the massive shortfall in projected payments.

    The fact of the matter is, that however enormous the projected repayment amounts look when we do the maths now, you would actually need a crystal ball to know what the actual amounts will turn out to be.

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th Feb '15 - 7:08pm

    Stuart – ‘The fact of the matter is, that however enormous the projected repayment amounts look when we do the maths now, you would actually need a crystal ball to know what the actual amounts will turn out to be.’

    Yes to a point. The best thing that could happen from the perspective of repayments is a sharp increase in graduate incomes. That seems remote. But the number of variables in this is enormous.

  • @Simon Shaw
    On the day when Vince Cable has claimed that 9,000 – 6,000 = 6,000, I reckon you’ve picked the worst possible time to ask me to agree with you that Vince has the faintest idea what he’s doing!!

    What about you, Simon? How do you feel about Labour’s plan to raise taxes on people earning over £150,000 so they can give a tuition fees reduction to people like your son? Has he heard the good news yet?

  • David Allen 27th Feb '15 - 7:30pm

    LJP – Yes, the link you give (by the independent analyst William Cullerne Bown) is interesting. According to Cullerne Bown, Martin Lewis has made some errors: Lewis has written to him and promised some corrections / clarifications. However, Cullerne Bown’s more serious complaint is with the official Government website:

    “The weekly deduction (in a “worst-case” scenario) is two and a half times as big as the £6.92 the government told you it would be – and adds up to £881 a year. So, 60 per cent out at a conservative estimate. 150 per cent out if things go badly with inflation and salaries. I think in anyone’s book that counts as a massive underestimate. And this is the advice the government is giving to students.”

    Who exactly is calling their opponents “financially illiterate”?

    Black, kettle, pot, call, rearrange this well-known phrase or saying…

  • Me: ““On the day when Vince Cable has claimed that 9,000 – 6,000 = 6,000, I reckon you’ve picked the worst possible time to ask me to agree with you that Vince has the faintest idea what he’s doing!!”

    Simon: “Are you saying you think that Vince is too old? I predicted that Labour would use that line, so it’s interesting to see what you say.”

    No editing tricks there. That really is Simon’s response to my observation that Vince can’t subtract one number from another.

  • Simon.
    it benefits middle earners of £35, O00 or so and leaves the situation for lower earners exactly the same. However, the interests rates on the a loan £18, 0000 will be considerably lower than on a loan of £27,000 so everyone who say starts at a lower wage and moves up will pay less. There’s a lot of twisty turny logic involved in describing a cut in the tuition fees for everyone as only rewarding the wealthy. Most people start at a lower wage and move up the pay ladder rather than walk straight in a high earning job so the interest rates are a big factor.

  • @Simon Shaw
    “Incidentally, you didn’t answer my question: Three weeks ago you accused Vince Cable on LDV of spouting “speculative rubbish” about Labour’s proposals. Do you still stand by that?”

    If you actually read the thread in question, you’ll see that everything I said has been 100% vindicated by today’s announcement, which included many major details that neither Vince Cable nor anybody else had predicted. Are you prepared to man up and admit that?

    In fact, Vince was still at it today. Googling around – to verify that Vince really had said that 9,000 – 6,000 = 6,000 and it wasn’t just an LDV misprint – I noticed that the lengthy and absurd quote from Vince in the other thread was spouted hours before Labour had made their announcement. Hence he claimed the universities would suffer a drop in funding, though Labour later announced they would not. So Vince was still spouting speculative rubbish just this morning.

    Incidentally, according to the BBC, “the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that overall Labour’s policy would ‘leave university finances largely unaffected in the short run’ and ‘reduce government debt in both the short and long run’.”

    Unlike Vince, they were talking AFTER the announcement, not before.

  • stuart moran 27th Feb '15 - 9:37pm


    Don’t bother….they don’t get it!

  • @stuart moran
    “Don’t bother….they don’t get it!”

    To be fair, I think most Lib Dems do get it – Simon is a unique case.

    To be honest, ever since the memorable thread where Simon argued that the Lib Dems who voted to treble fees had actually KEPT their NUS pledge, I’ve tended to the view that his comments on this subject are just an attempt at sophistry and not to be taken at all seriously.

  • Simon,
    1) I think it benefits everyone who starts low and earns more because the debt is lower and thus the interest on the debt is lower. I think trying to say imply that it rewards only higher earners is a highly selective argument.
    2) It leaves them the same. It does not penalise them so there denote unfairness.
    3) I’m not even sure this is logical, how exactly does owing less act as more of a deterrent to opting out. It makes no sense.
    Do you think people would rather owe and pay interest on £18,000 or owe and pay interest on £27,000 as they progress in their place of work?

  • stuart moran 27th Feb '15 - 10:02pm


    I am watching a documentary on one of the great British bands, and am in a good mood. I am just finding his musings amusing tonight

  • stuart moran 27th Feb '15 - 10:10pm

    Simon Shaw

    Do you oppose the increase to the tax threshold as that benefits the rich more than the poor? The IFS says that too

  • Passing through 27th Feb '15 - 10:55pm

    @ Simon Shaw

    The pledge reads ““I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.””

    It’s Boolean isn’t it?.

    There’s a massive difference between pledging to “vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament AND pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative” and pledging to “vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament OR pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative”.

    The language quite clearly supports the first interpretation, to argue it actually means the second is pure sophistry. Not to mention it is still highly debatable whether the new system is actually any fairer, certainly the biggest winners are those who leave university and walk into jobs with stratospheric salaries allowing them to clear the entire sum and the minimal interest accrued very rapidly.

  • Peter Watson 27th Feb '15 - 11:51pm

    Apparently back in 2010 Vince Cable was suggesting that fees would be capped at £7000, but there is a great quote on tuition fees from Cable that I missed at that time:

    The road to Westminster is covered in the skidmarks of political parties changing direction.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  • John Broggio 28th Feb '15 - 12:41am

    I think some here suffer from Oolon Colluphid syndrome.

  • Feelings of extreme guilt lead, as a measure of compensation, to dishonesty to oneself (“what I did wasn’t so bad, probably even good if you look at it the right way”) and eventually delusional thinking (“doing more of the same will magically get me out of the mess I got into in the first place!”). The only way to claw back to sanity is by clearly admitting one’s mistakes, apologising, and seeking to make amends.

    We are probably some years away from that.

  • In the Lib Dem’s defence (and really they were stupid to make a pledge whilst a review was in place) there is an BC / AD on tuition fees marked by Labour’s Browne review. 5 years on we see the Labour response but considering their track record on tuition fees I’m left thinking – what’s next Ed, what’s next?

    What’s hard now for the Lib Dems is how they answer the question, would you support the change or not, and if not, why not? Labour’s policy is squarely aimed at middle England (where the additional votes are) and dressed as a fairness to all. I’d like to the Lib Dem response to be – “because if you’re gonna help wealthy graduates then there should be proportionally further help for less well off graduates too”.

    After all, the social Liberal philosophy is to remove barriers to social economic participation by those in society that, by accident of birth, find themselves disadvantaged. The middle class, on the other hand, can be helped by reduction in general taxation as and when that is achievable for all.

  • Peter Chambers 28th Feb '15 - 11:14am

    Let’s check if I have read this right. Ed Milliband is using a tactic to attack the Liberal Democrats on tuition fees. Various people claim the effect will be marginal, moving the deck chairs around. The proposal will not fundamentally solve the funding problem in higher education. The proposal causes concern in the universities. To offset that Ed Milliband proposes that he take some money from the pension funds of rich ‘silver savers’, causing Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt amongst the group with highest Propensity To Vote.

    An obvious Tory riposte might be a poster saying “Labour’s pension bombshell!”. Has he thought this one through?
    Perhaps he has written off the middle-class pensioner vote, hoping for the student vote. Risky.

  • So Labour are to spend spend £2,000,000,000 of taxpayers money on subsidising only graduates with starting salaries of greater than £35000 a year when the NHS is crying out for better funding. Is this worth it just to make a cheap electioneering point against the Lib Dems?

  • was just about coming to the view that it was time to help the party out again, and now this.
    the fees debacle was self destructive, unnecessary and wrong – please never let this version of the party keep redigging that wretched hole.
    it is true though that it also shows how out of touch metropolitan Labour is – £6k, £9k, all unimagineably high amounts of money for most. As a nation we now have no political party that thinks higher education should be available on merit and not means. Only the SNP argue the case. the UK has failed its young.
    surely, please, time to start again!

  • William Davison 3rd Mar '15 - 3:33pm

    After reading what I suspect are self serving “I am alright Jack” comments supporting cutting Tuition fees for £35K+, it is little wonder that White van man votes UKIP in England & SNP in Scotland instead of Labour. Just shows how opportunist the Labour party is, the only reason they offer it is to make the LibDems look bad, when the LibDems have done more to take the low paid out of income tax and reduce the tuition fees of low paid students below £21k, than Labour did in 13 years. When they had a 10% income tax band they abolished it! Only basic rate taxpayers received LibDem tax cuts, while higher rate taxpayers had the 40% pension tax relief reduce to 20% and the Pension Allowance was reduce from £1.5m from Labours £1.25m.

    The only time I meant real opposition to Tuition fees was from a mother of 2 Dentist whose future average salary is about £70k, which kind of tells all I need to know. When the median salary is near £26K why does the Labour party seek to reward those on salaries above £35K. It was Labour party that introduced Tuition fees originally on incomes as low as £15k a year, it was the coalition that raised it to £21k.

    If the Labour party was criticising us because we raised employee NI by 1% in 2010 I could understand that, but they would not do that because was their bad policy we were implementing. The Tories are really about owning things not enterprise and Labour are about rewarding their supporters not those on low incomes. They believe in taking from the low paid with one hand and then expecting them to vote for them for giving it back with the other. Why can’t they give the cut in Pension allowance to basic rate taxpayers, instead of rewarding £35K+ graduates, most of whom will be higher rate taxpayers.

  • Leekliberal 28th Feb ’15 – 11:33am ……..So Labour are to spend spend £2,000,000,000 of taxpayers money on subsidising only graduates with starting salaries of greater than £35000 a year when the NHS is crying out for better funding. Is this worth it just to make a cheap electioneering point against the Lib Dems?….

    £2billion;Wow! But wait; isn’t a cautious estimate for repairs to Westminster about £3billion….Money, eh?

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