Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Budget day...what it means for students.

So I just spent the last couple of hours watching the UK Budget being announced and debated. I thought there were some good points in there, like more help for first time home buyers, and a new incentive to increase charitable legacies. For example, if you leave 10% of your legacy to a charity, you will get 10% off your inheritance tax bill. This won’t make any difference to the individuals, but will make a huge difference to the charities receiving that 10% of your wealth/estate. There was also some great ideas for forcing companies to be more green (although I fear this will just end up filtering its way down to us consumers).

When it came to us students though, I was very disappointed. In their announcement, their very own words, they stated that education is key to a sustainable future for the nation. That higher education in particular is not available widely enough… “Evidence shows that the better skills a person has, the more likely they are to be employed, to earn more, and to be more productive. Better skilled people are also better able to adapt to new technologies, and the better use of technologies throughout the economy offers huge potential for growth.” So why then, are they insisting on reducing the funding to this absolutely fundamental element of our society?

I understand the theory, but practically, it is just going to be more daunting for anyone to take on the kind of debt they are asking students to take on. They are trying to reduce the burden on the taxpayer, but at the end of the day, there will be less higher earning tax payers in the future, if they cannot afford to get a higher education. “Following the review by Lord Browne, the Government announced a fundamental reform of higher education funding, to be introduced from autumn 2012. This will sustain the viability of the UK’s world-class university sector, while reducing the burden on the taxpayer, by requiring graduates who can afford it to pay more in return for the benefits they gain.” Like I say, it’s a nice idea, but in reality, it just going to scare potential students off because of financial restraints, and the burden of the debt they will be getting into.

After all the protests and clear indications that this is the wrong thing to be doing in terms of the nation’s future, for the students, our future tax payers, they have gone ahead with it.

This, I believe will be the “Achilles heel” of the Tory-Libdem Coalition Government.

As always, thoughts and comment welcome below.

Till next time….


Hadleigh said...

Very insightful and I think your are right, people will remember the failings of this government by their stance on education and it could be, as you implied their "Achilles heel" and may asist in bringing them down.

VC said...

I nearly broke into applause when you mentioned the cost of green policies being passed on to consumers - so few people make that connection!

Tuition fees are disgustingly high, but there is a small glimmer of hope - various educational institutions are creating degree courses that people can do while working full-time and which employers will be prepared to fund. It's not great for degrees that have cultural value (the arts), but at least for individuals who have the potential to study to degree level, they will have a chance of getting a degree; just not by studying full-time :S

Stephen said...

High income earners pay more tax but unfortunately there is a growing reluctance by governments world wide to finance education,