Clever politics may be bad government on student loans

It was inevitable that this very political Labour party would want to expose the student loan issue to offer maximum embarrassment to the Liberal democrats in the run up to the election. Sure enough on cue and probably on schedule- after leaks alleging delays – Labour yesterday launched its price cut for university courses, cutting the student payment from £9000 a year to £6000 a year from September 2016.
The prime aim of the launch seemed to be to remind left of centre voters that Lib Dems had promised to get rid of tuition fees, a prominent and oft repeated pledge before the election in 2010, only for a Lib Dem Secretary of State to dream up and push through a scheme which did the opposite. I am told it is called punching the bruise in modern political strategist and spin doctor circles.

What matters to most people is not what it does to the relative votes for the Lib Dems and Labour, but what it would do for our country, our students and taxpayers, in the years ahead were Labour to be given the power to do it. The first in the frame to express doubts are the universities. They like the certainty of getting the payments from the students. They will immediately lose a third of their UK student revenue. They will have to rely on government grant to make up the shortfall, and are worried in case that gets squeezed in later years.

The second group to complain will be those who have to pay the extra bills. Labour will need to spell out more of the detail of how it gets £3bn extra tax out of people saving for their retirement. Whilst they claim it will only hit people on high incomes, it may be they do not get anything like as much extra tax out of that group as they hope. Will they then spread the pensions tax lower down the income scale? Are they happy to be deterring people from pensions saving?

The third group who find the new policy does not help them very much are the groups Labour says it wishes to help – students from low income backgrounds and students who obtain lower income jobs after graduating. The first group is already helped by various scholarship and bursary schemes. The second group do not have to start paying interest or making repayments on their loans until their income is high enough to allow that.

Labour’s left wing critics point out that the winners from the scheme are the graduates who do get into better paid jobs, who will have to repay less capital and pay less interest on their debts as a result of cut. Some are already dubbing it a policy to help future hedge fund managers and City high fliers. The Labour response is they do wish to raise the interest rate people have to pay on their loans if they earn more than £42,000. That sounds complicated. To make such people worse off or no better off they will need to raise the interest rate on the loans by at least 50% to avoid the richer and more successful graduates benefitting.

Will it be worth all that hassle? Can we really believe Labour’s figures on all that extra tax from a few highly paid pension savers? Is this really the best use of the money? To me it looks like clever politics makes bad government.

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  1. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    The very concept of a degree has been devalued beyond measure and anyway why stop there, for there is no reason to do so, meaning why not doctorates and professorships for half the population? A specific example of when everybody’s somebody nobody’s anybody.

    • Hope
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      The dreadful Tories quite content to provide free university tuition to EU students at Brtish taxpayers’ expense. Scottish students get free university education, it all comes from the same UK tax pot! A question of priorities, all that overseas aid could be spent in so many ways on British people including university education. The same applies to the EU club fees and additional £1.7 billions here and there. But to provide our EU competitors free university education could only come from someone with an Oxbridge PPE like Cameron. His judgement is so out whack I really do not understand why he has not been ousted. The British public has every right to be angry about the unfair position of University fees. After all it was Scottish MPs, who do not charge their citizens university fees, who supported Blair to get it through in the first place.

  2. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The Conservatives are a prime example of clever politics leading to bad government. In attempt to stop being seen as the “nasty party “. We have been saddled with gay marriage, over priced energy and female mp’s and ministers who were soon seen as being not up to the job. The student loan issue will soon disappear. This is because the kids will soon see there is no point in taking on a load of debt to try and get, in most cases, a top paying job that simply is not there.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Dame Rita Webb:

      You can help to bring down the present house of cards by voting for anyone as long as he isn’t endorsed by the Conservative and Unionist Party. Who wins the coming general election is irrelevant; all that matters is that chaos ensues.

      We have to stop the rot and we must accept that some pain is inevitable. Let’s get it over with as quickly as we can.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:14 am | Permalink

      Indeed one assumes the women the Tories selected are there to make the fairly dreadful men CMD has chosen look relatively good.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    For most subjects, other than a few subjects like medicine, veterinary, engineering, natural sciences and the likes, there is little reason why the fees need to cost more than 6K PA. Lectures and be videos with one lecture watched many thousands for almost nothing. A few electronic books, guidance and documents to read, some tutors and a few expert staff to guide the students and an exam system. Lecturers in many subjects are not expensive may do it not for monetary reasons. The whole sector is ripe for huge changes and efficiencies and consolidation of teaching and exams.

    The problem with the sector is largely that it is rather like fine wines and perfumes. People desire the Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Caltec, MIT labels and thus they attract the best (and often the richer) students. The system thus become self propagating and these Universities can thus charge for their posh brands/clubs.

    Efficiently run and with modern technology £6K for tuition is plenty for say English, Maths, Languages, Geography, Economics, PPE, History of Art, History and similar subjects.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Politics and votes is what it is all about of course. But people actually want (rather than just say that they want) cheap energy, lower taxes, smaller but more efficient governments, far less EU, far more freedom and to spent their own money as they wish to.

      Wet pathetic big state socialists like Heath, Major and Cameron have never faired well in elections for the Conservatives. We need a grand vision. Cameron would not spot one even if it kicked him in the teeth. Quite apart from the fact that Cameron clearly cannot be trusted on anything after his past serial ratting. Are we ever to get a statement on IHT?

      Cameron has as usual missed the plot. He has no vision and is just dancing to the tune of imagined swing voters in marginals. This is not the way to win elections.

      As Alastair Heath puts it:

      Delingpole in the spectator has it right too: Are you a Lush or a Lidl? Cameron is clearly a Lush.

      • Qubus
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        Slightly off topic, but what on earth persuaded Cameron to make such a stupid and clearly unachievable promise to reduce immigration to a few tens of thousands whilst remaining in the EU? What were his advisers playing at? It was clearly a hostage to fortune to the dimmest man on the street.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 3:41 am | Permalink

          Well could it be stupidity. He threw the last election with his eu ratting and tv billing for Clegg, he thinks greencrap energy and the climate change act are good, has increased 299+ taxes, thinks gender neutral insurance and annuities by law are good, ratted on IHT and is about to throw another sitting duck election with his we are not quite as crap as Labour approach.

          Yes stupidity, a broken compass and a total lack of vision, that seems fair.

          • Hope
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            Or it could be simple lying to get votes when he ought to have known that he could do nothing about EU immigration? After all with a PPE from Oxbridge and SPAD he ought to have known.

        • alan jutson
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink


          It is not just EU migration, its not even reduced from Outside of the EU, something he could have done something about, but did not.

          We should all know by now Cameron is great at speeches and presentation, and comes across well, but the so called policies are simply abject failure, he is absolutely hopeless at any sort of negotiation and recruitment of the right people.

          His lack of any substantive real hard nosed commercial experience has shown up, as it has for both Clegg, and Miliband.

          In all probability nice people, but absolutely hopeless as leaders and policy makers, because none of them really understands the human nature of most of the population.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        @LL; “Wet pathetic big state socialists like Heath, Major and Cameron have never faired well in elections for the Conservatives. We need a grand vision.”

        Yes we do need a grand vision, but not idealogical rants and/or clap-trap from left nor right, in some respects Mr Lifelogic you are the equal but opposite of the current Green Party and just as unelectable!

        Lifelogic, have you ever considered that you and your ilk are the people who are the people actually out of touch, with you rather dogmatic right-wing views (that are much further to the right than our hosts, and indeed Mrs Thatcher herself)?

        What you fail to grasp with all your rants about “wets” is the fact that, had the likes of Militant not infiltrated the Labour party during the 1970s, had there not been that “winter of discontent” (or had Callaghan called an election in early ’78 or before [1]), had Labour not torn its self apart after the 1979 election defeat, Thatcher might never have been elected and could well have been a one term PM even then. The vast majority of the electorate in the UK are what you might call “wets” themselves and many night even wish for a big state (or at least coordinated planing and not just a capitalist free for all, thus the love affair for the NHS) and what ever you might think, history suggests that those “Tory wets” were far more in-touch with the will of the electorate after the Poll Tax disaster than you would have been…

        [1] I might be wrong but seem to recall reading that Thatcher and her advisor’s were worried that Callaghan might indeed call an election as early as either ’77 or ’78 to give him an election mandate meaning that the Tory party would have to fight the election before being fully ready and thus quite possibly loose

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 3:49 am | Permalink

          Well Thather with her foolishly chosen man Major won 4 elections (until the public sussed out what a disaster Major was). Heath, Major and Cameron have been complete disasters both in elections and on policy.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

            @LL; What you have failed grasp is that Thatcher/Major not so much won as Labour lost many of those elections between and including those of ’79 and ’92, the electorate didn’t so much suddenly swerve their political beliefs over to the right in 1979 and then to the left in in 1997, they simply chose the best package that was on offer, once there was more than two credible choices (and yes that is a whole new argument…) on offer in 2010 the outcome became less predicable and it will be again this year I expect.

            Oh and why did Labour loose in 1983, because the Labour Party had lurched so far to the left that many believed the party to have become less than credible, even within the Labour rank and file. If the right lurch to far to the right the same could happen, hence why I suggest that many of your opinions are just as unelectable as the Green’s policies are today and labour’s were in ’83.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            Well Miliband is doing his best for Cameron.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:16 am | Permalink

          The opposite of the Green part is almost exactly what is needed.

      • William Gruff
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink


        Wet pathetic big state socialists like Heath, Major and Cameron have never faired well in elections for the Conservatives.

        I cannot find a good word to say for any of those men, however, they cannot be said ‘never [to have] faired well in elections for the Conservatives’. Elections may be nothing more than bread and circuses but winning one, if no more, is still an achievement.

        etc ed

  4. John E
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    More to the point for me is how universities can justify fees of £9k per annum.
    I can see it for the Oxbridge tuition system but so many students elsewhere have minimal contact with academics staff that their fees are going to subsidise the university bureaucracy rather than towards their education.

    With the advances in online learning, the rate of change in practical knowledge, and the irrelevance of so many degree subjects to later life, the current university model is going to be subject to enormous disruption. The traditional three year degree model is already an enormously expensive anachronism.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Oxford and Cambridge terms are rather shorter than most and the students are usually fairly bright & so often need little more than a few books and the odd lecture & tutorial. They could charge more far more for the Cambridge/Oxford label or brand and mixing the with other bright and often wealthier students.

      But I am not sure the actually teaching is worth that much more than other universities in many courses. They also have the advantage that they do not have too many dim students to help so can teach at a higher level in general.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Then again all those listed Oxbridge buildings are not the cheapest to run and maintain.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The Cameron & the Tories need to start a snow ball rolling to win this election why are they so reluctant to do so? They need to push a grand vision but have left it too late perhaps with 67 days left.

    A vision of cheaper energy, a booming economy, lower taxes, simpler employment laws, far less EU, a fair deal for the English and far, far less government in general. But Cameron has lefty greencrap, anti logic & science genes and just cannot do it.

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      A fair deal for the English would have seen the Tories romp home in May but it seems Cameron and the Tories would rather hand England over to Milipede and the Scottish Nationalists than address the rotten deal England gets politically and financially – perish the thought. He’s already ratted on his English votes for English laws promise.

      • Richard
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        This is because Mr. Cameron’s most important policy is to keep England in the EU no matter how unfairly the English are treated.

        Since the Scots do not wish to leave EU Mr. Cameron’s plan is to keep England tied to Scotland and ensure the Scots have a veto on the UK leaving the EU should we ever have a referendum.

        Not only does Mr. Cameron not wish England to leave the EU but also wants the EU to expand to include Turkey and all countries from the Atlantic to the Urals, which would add 150m Muslims to the EU population.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:17 am | Permalink


    • Bazman
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      How would you make employment laws more simple. Hire and fire without any recourse for the employee?
      Full time employment, agencies, self employment, short term contracts, zero hours contracts, part time employment, unpaid internships, bogus apprenticeships. foreign labour gangs etc
      Do tell us your ideas for further dilute. employment rights which are some of the most lax in the world or stop writing nonsense when you are employed in the most unregulated and subsidised industry in the world. socialism for the rich again.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Forcing employers to employ the wrong staff helps no one, least of all the employees. It deters employers taking new staff on.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink


        You’re boring, deluded and wrong. We have the same employment rules as the rest of the EU, you know the EU you always cite as the reason to be a member of as they provide workers rights. Boy you really are a muddled thinker aren’t you.

        Oh and I can assure you that the wealth creators don’t do socialism. Politicians the gullible and naive persons such as your good self are the only people interested in taking other peoples hard earned money and giving it to someone else.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian; “Oh and I can assure you that the wealth creators don’t do socialism.”

          Quite, but that should have been Socialism (with a big S), many a wealth creator gives time and money to charities etc. that help others, but as you say what they resist is being told by the State the “good causes” they have to support (via taxes).

          • libertarian
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink


            Totally agree although we normally call that philanthropy and a good thing it is too. Take your point though & you are entirely right, its choice not coercion.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 3:53 am | Permalink

          The eu has daft employment laws too but they are not at all the same often far worse, and the eu is an economic disaster area. Not just due to this but it is a big part of it.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          If I am “boring” you do not have to read it.

          If I am “deluded and wrong” perhaps you might try to come up with some sensible reasons why you think so. Rather than just stating it without any.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink


            You might try reading my post properly, there’s a huge clue at the beginning where i address my post to

            Bazman !!!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            Sorry a bit rushed that day and must go to spec savers again for some new readers.

          • Bazman
            Posted March 4, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

            Myopic does not even cover it.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Plainly to say UK employment laws are the most lax in the world is not right Baz.
        If you ever tried to employ another person you would soon realise just how complex it is in the UK.
        And it is not correct to say being involved in property purchasing re development and renting is the most unregulated and subsidised industry in the world is also incorrect.

      • William Gruff
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink


        Apart from ‘ … unpaid internships, bogus apprenticeships [and] foreign labour gangs … ‘ I’ve been all of the things you cite, also a mature student with a good degree in a serious subject, from what is now a Russell Group university (student loan repaid in full), agency worker replaced by East European agency workers and now a fifty nine year old with fairly recently, and then newly, acquired administrative skills and experience, obtained from full-time voluntary work that required up to four hours’ travelling each day, mostly at my wife’s expense, and rising at 05:00. When applying for jobs I know that I have been discriminated against on the grounds of age and gender, although the government agency through which I applied for those jobs was not at all interested in my complaint and fobbed me off with the excuse that there was ‘nothing we can do’.

        I long ago came to the conclusion that were employers able to employ whomever they liked and sack the same I might have had an income for the past five years. I could be wrong but I have sufficient experience of dealing with unsackable idiots, and putting right the problems they cause, to believe that I am not.

        As a man approaching his seventh decade I can appreciate the comforting embrace of nostalgia but you might profitably update your attitudes (I write as a former Labour Party member and activist).

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted March 2, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

          Bazman – I don’t understand your anger.

          For the most part our country has been going the way you want it to.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Employment laws exist for a reason Rather handily, the OECD complies a set of international indicators of employee protection, the latest version of which was revised in September 2010, using 2008 data. The survey looks at “the procedures and costs involved in dismissing individuals or groups of workers and the procedures involved in hiring workers on fixed-term or temporary work agency contracts”.
        What does it show?
        First, that protection for employees in these respects in the UK is already close to the lowest of any country in the OECD survey, only slightly higher than Canada or the USA. All of the much touted BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) offer employees greater protection that the UK does, for example. and protection for employees in the UK is already close to the lowest of any country in the OECD. With protection for temporary workers the second lowest
        So until the usual posters come up with reason British workers and indeed employers will benefit from more lax laws stop writing you deluded right wing fantasies.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          But hiring and firing is only a small part of the overall complexities of employing others Baz

          Try PAYE and NI Tax admin, paternity and maternity law admin, pensions admin, equality, disabilty and race relations laws, sick pay admin and law, redundancy law, redundancy pay regs and short time working, lay off pay regs.
          Amongst many other things you are responsible for as an employer of others.

          So to claim the UK has the world’s most lax employment laws is simply not correct.

        • libertarian
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink


          Did you post this link hoping people wouldn’t read it?

          According to the report YOU linked to the UK has the worlds 3rd highest percentage of full time, permanently employed at 93.9%

          According to the table on Page 78 the UK’s worker protection rights on an average across all dimensions of longevity in job, amount of compensation, severance terms etc.

          The UK came ABOVE the following Countries

          Also the report noted that since 2008 the following counties had been marked down further


          This report was into worker protection rights in the event of non constructive dismissal i.e. redundancy .

          It made no mention of ALL the other employee rights legislation on maternity/paternity, holiday, sickpay , pensions, flexible working, working time directive, equality, racial discrimination etc etc

          On page 144 The report noted that so far ONLY Ireland, NZ, and the UK had IMPLEMENTED significant termination convergent contracts ( in English that means giving temp workers the same rights as permanent workers).

          The report also ONLY marks down the UK because we don’t offer longer contracts to temp workers. You don’t say, I don’t suppose thats anything to do with Gordon Brown implementing IR35 then?

          Bazzy, you are the weakest link.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 2, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          As I have pointed out employment laws exist for a reason like woamns rights do and it laughable that you seem to thing employment rates will somehow be enhanced by worse rights, less holidays and poor working condition which is what this will produce. Don’t tell me about the negotiation of contracts between individual cleaners and big business. It’s just silly.
          You then bemoan that only desperate EU citizens will only do the work. Have guess why?
          Me and my workmate are bemused at metal trade jobs offering minimum wage rates/zero hours contracts and he says we should go just to laugh at them. I tell him a few anecdotes that when on the dole with little to do have done just that turning the tables at the interview and talking about scrounging telling them that my costs have already been cut to the bone and as I have no debts and a paid for house have little need for these shenanigans, by the look on their faces they are looking for fools and fools is what they will get. Nobody wants the the job as it is under constant advertisement or run as a revolving door opportunity. One in and one out.
          What you are arguing for is the right to exploit the fools and the desperate. Beggar my neighbour policies forcing competition between the poor of EU countries and the British poor.
          The country has no need for these jobs as they are to expensive for us all and good luck to all those who refuse to do this work. I for one will not and neither will deluded right wing apologist who really are to stupid for the jobs they do.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

            You are off on a seperate argument as usual Baz
            Your original post stated the UK has the most lax employment laws in the whole world.
            You were proved wrong as usual.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink


            NOT once have I EVER said workers shouldn’t have rights. Not once have I ever said employment would be enhanced by less rights. In fact I have repeatedly said that we can’t get enough workers and that normally results in MORE benefits to workers.

            I have just pointed out with facts that the stuff you post is wrong, incorrect, made up and plain daft. That is all.

            By the way this may come as a huge surprise but the employment market place doesn’t operate just for your benefit.

            The rest of your post is a made up of a rant full of drivel and pretending that anyone anywhere ever said anything like you have just posted. Sorry mate you’ve lost the plot

          • Bazman
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            Britain has some of the most lax employment laws in the western world. Maybe you could tell us who has even more lax laws and why they benefit this country?
            America maybe, but America is a very large country and making the 10% poorest people here as poor as they are there would not be acceptable leading to civil unrest.
            You seem to believe that we can compete by having worse employment laws. This you cannot deny.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink


            Get someone to read my post to you further up this thread.

            I’ve already named the 8 countries that have more lax redundancy laws than the UK. We share the rest of the same employment laws with other EU countries so ALL 28 have roughly similar employment laws. There are of course one or two minor differences. Some countries have works councils for big businesses and some countries don’t have minimum wage levels but mostly quite similar.

            Why don’t you provide some evidence for your inane drivel once in a while. How about you tell us the top 3 employment laws of Western Countries that we don’t have in the UK

  6. alan jutson
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The devil will be in the detail (to be released after the election I guess) given the promise has been made for it to be introduced in September 2016, thus leaving plenty of time for the dark arts to come to light.

    £9,000 tuition fees may have been a LibDem Idea, but remember it was supported by the Conservatives.

    Here we go again, more bribes for votes at election time, I wonder what else will come out of the woodwork in the next couple of months.

    Guarantee whatever it is it will make life more complicated and expensive.

    Bus passes, tv license, heating allowance, yet another argument as to who should qualify.
    Just raise the State pension by £1,000 a year, say its all included and those with larger incomes will pay tax on it, so the government will get between 20-40% of it back through an existing system.

    Road fund license.
    Scrap it.
    Just put 5% extra duty on road fuel, you can then dissolve a whole government department, and at the same time it makes sure no one evades paying, as fuel duty is collected at source.
    People then pay more for using inefficient cars by milage, no need for tolls, and complicated license rates.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      alan jutson; “Road fund license. Scrap it. Just put 5% extra duty on road fuel, you can then dissolve a whole government department, and at the same time it makes sure no one evades paying, as fuel duty is collected at source.”

      Hmm, nice idea, it would be popular, but will any Chancellor do it. I fear that the VED is to much of a cash-cow for HMT…

      Fuel duty is like a road toll, great all the time people use their cars. How would it pan out, would the higher mileage motorists pay enough extra to balance out the income deficit due to the ultra low mileage motorist paying very little who at the moment pay the same VED pa as the company sales rep in a similar car doing 20K miles pa!

      • A different Simon
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Poli’s are too wedded to the social engineering element .

        High VED for an older car or larger car to penalise people for non-conformance .

        Zero VED for electric cars plus £5,000 subsidy to help rich metropolitan sorts buy them .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 3:57 am | Permalink

      Both very sensible but they will not happen.

    • Richard
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      No government is going to scrap a tax.

      They will want to increase fuel duty by 5% AND keep/increase VED.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 8, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Road tolls are the best way of paying for roads, but all those who argue that we should pay for what we use and about freedom of choice strangely do not like the idea in principle of road tolls. Funny that.
      If you CHOOSE to live in a mountainous isolated area such as Barrow-in-Furness or a heavily used high maintenance roads such as the M25 then you should pay for this and not expect other areas to subsidise your usage with fuel and excise duties and if you CHOOSE to live in Cambridgeshire with the A14 arterial road this is the ideal way to fund it instead of pretending it is a local road. Little used roads could also be closed like the very sensible Mr Beeching did with the railways or funded by the residents at less cost.
      Hopefully in the same vein a fully privatised NHS incentivising us all to stay healthy to avoid bills or more expensive premiums will bring the same benefits with everyone paying for what they use and not subsidising those with a cavalier attitude to their health. Lets face it what is more sensible than not dying?
      Don’t get me started on the absurd helicopter laws by jealous lefty BBC types strangling transport in London pretending it is about noise and safety. It is not many countries allow large twin rotor helicopters to land on buildings in cities any business or pilot would soon be banned or out of business if they crashed, its self regulating and every helicopter means one less car or rail journey.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Well done! In line with Westminster hidden policy. You managed to get through that without once mentioning the ‘student fees’ to which you refer apply only to English universities. Or English students who wish to further their education in Scotland, where they will sit next to students from Europe who have paid nothing. The same as Scots students will pay nothing.
    If this were a ‘United Kingdom’ all students from within would pay the same, but it isn’t. It’s a (dis)UK where discrimination against the English is not only allowed, but positively encouraged.
    If it were a sovereign nation, we would tell the EU. Your students are welcome to come here and be educated, but at a price. The same price, regardless of which part of the (dis)UK they wish to come to. But it’s not, it’s just a satellite of the EU empire and does exactly what the EU tells it.
    Politicians from the last fifty years will be remembered as the politicians that sat by and watched England and eventually the (dis)UK be destroyed. Shame on you all.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Clever politics may be bad government – Indeed it nearly always is bad government. Look for example at the moronic plans from the Green loons on Landlord interest relief. Which would actually be a tax on tenants and cause a huge shortage of rental property. But they know they will never have to deliver it. Still let us hope they harm Labour the usual party of pathetic, chip on the shoulder, damaging, rob the rich envy.

    On Universities

  9. Richard1
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Another day, another fatuous policy from fatuous Mr Miliband. He is as poor quality a Potential PM as Neil Kinnoch, albeit more intelligent. Let’s hope this election will turn out a re-run of 1992.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      But Kinnock was the first Kinnock in 1000 generations to go to university! Is not 1000 generations rather a bit before Universities got going?

      etc ed

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink


      Let’s hope this election will turn out a re-run of 1992.

      Let’s vote to ensure that it isn’t. England desperately needs a SNuLab coalition government.

      Only an English Parliament can properly represent the interests of the people of England.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:29 am | Permalink

      It will not be anything like 1992 then people assumed Major would be like Mrs Thatcher as he was her chosen man. Five years later they had found out what what a pro eu incompetent he was and buried the party, they have not won since. It is more likely to be like 97 as the voters have now sussed Cameron as being just a pro EU, greencrap Major with the gift of the gab.

      This despite all Milibands efforts to help Cameron.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink


      Hope not actually. Not because I want Labour in, far from it, but history repeats itself (which politicians never understand). If we have a re-run of 1992, we will get a re-run of 1997 and all that came after it – illegal wars, presidential PM, sofa government, big state, big bust, Gordon Brown (aka Ed Balls). I can’t think Milliband would be much worse or do much more damage than that lot. He simply will not have the cash available. Then again I do have a low opinion of just how gifted our politicians are, so maybe they can.

  10. Richard1
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    It is argued that there will be a high level of default on these student loans as many students won’t make the salary levels to pay back, won’t do so, will move abroad etc. I don’t know how this can be predicted with any confidence, but surely an excellent way to cure the problem would be to publish the percentage performing on repayments by institution and course. This would help students, and the government, decide which courses and which institutions are worth supporting. Institutions and courses which have very high non repayment levels should be invited to fund themselves without recourse to the taxpayer. Another good way of getting real choice and competition in a public service.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I think we can fairly safely predict which ones are duds without the expense of setting up another government get the figures. Things like Media Studies, Arts, Performing Arts, Sociology (almost any ology). There’s a fair old list of things that don’t prepare students for the real world, but just keep them off the dole figures for a while. The real answer is to cull all this stuff and only have courses that are beneficial to employment and maybe then we could afford a cut in fees or even scrapping them altogether. Labour’s idea that 50 percent should go to Uni was always a crackpot idea. Not that many students have the intelligence or the self imposed rigour to benefit realistically.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink


        Your entire post is undone in your first “hate” . You old dinosaurs really don’t like media studies without the first clue of what it is and why it is one of the degrees that has the highest rate of job placement . 76% of media studies graduates have a full time job within 6 months of graduating.

        You see Graham we live in a 21st century world with more than a trillion blogs, online news forums, multimedia platforms, social media and You Tube channels . Media studies is all about media, written, videoed, and audio. Digital content ( media studies) is the hottest of topics in business marketing.

        In my opinion our education system fails because we are obsessed with re introducing 1950’s O & A levels. Education has to move with the times.

        The reason our state education doesn’t work as well as private education is simply that in private sector they still have discipline, work ethic and competitiveness as well as teaching self reliance .

        • APL
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

          libertarian: “21st century world with more than a trillion blogs,”

          The question is, do you need a media studies degree to set up a blog. I suggest not.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink


            No you don’t need a media studies degree to set up a blog. You don’t need a degree to do most things, but media studies covers content writing, communication strategies, multimedia platforms and a host of other things that businesses hire an awful lot of people to do !!!

            Media studies DOESN’T cover how to set up a blog or a website ( that would be a degree in digital engineering and arts) . Its about content & marketing communication strategies. Currently an area with significant skills shortages, but now a lot of people enter via a digital & social media marketing apprenticeship.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 2, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        graham1946 ‘Things like Media Studies, Arts, Performing Arts, Sociology (almost any ology). There’s a fair old list of things that don’t prepare students for the real world’

        The real world is changing – question from the IOD Update today – “which ector is worth more to the UK economy; cars, publishing, telecommunications or fashion?
        The answer – fashion worth £26bn more than the other industries mentioned combined.
        We need a diversity of talent in the UK, conformity gets us in a situation where people are forced often by their parents to study a ‘safe’ career led qualification they hate and have no passion for which gives them no life satisfaction. We need to change our education system which is still based on the Industrial needs from the last century and envelop new ideas and creativity instead of stifling them.

        • libertarian
          Posted March 2, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

          Amen to that, you are 100% correct

  11. JoeSoap
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    More stupidity from Labour to add to the stupidity already put in place by the Coalition.
    Why not look at what is best for the country?

    1 Sponsor students in subjects where there is a demand and where they merit sponsorship. Thereafter they have either have to pay tax in the UK or, if they move overseas, repay the loan over a specified period.

    2 Students who are not up to scratch or studying Micky-mouse subjects don’t get a grant or loan, and need to either pay themselves to obtain a scholarship, either paid from a business, charity or a limited number of government bursaries.

    The present system is effectively a stitch-up whereby well-paid University cling-ons are paid to teach kids who shouldn’t be at University anyway using taxpayers’ money. It is a waste of time and resources for all concerned.

    Politically, as usual, there is only one party which recognises this scandal and would save billions for the exchequer by changing the system rather than tinkering around with it.

  12. Hefner
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “This really political Labour Party” ? Mr Redwood, aren’t you from a political party, too? And one with a very ideological worldview?
    Look again at what you write afterwards and see whether that is not “really political”.

  13. JoolsB
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    With respect John, for someone who purports to speak for England, the greatest travesty is that these crippling fees only apply to England’s young and yet nowhere is the word England mentioned above.

    As usual Labour’s latest suggestion is pure opportunism. Like the Tories and the Lib Dums, they have shown they don’t give a stuff about England’s young or the higher education apartheid which exists in this so called United Kingdom which they started and which your party has made three times worse. My son is about to start a six year course and can expect to come out with debts of around £100,000 and yes, hopefully he will end up with a well paid job at the end of it but what you out of touch politicians who didn’t pay a penny towards your own university education, do not understand, is that no matter how much you dress it up, you are still starting them off in their working lives with a mind blowing debt hanging over them for most of their working lives.

    Aparently 70% of these fees will NEVER be paid back yet your party are determined to press ahead with this discrimination against your constituents. It seems they can find billions to maintain the skewed Barnett Formula which allows the Scots to pay no tuition fees and the Welsh & NI to be capped at £3,465. Insulting Welsh students even pay £3,465 when sitting alongside £9,000 fee paying English students at English universities. And they can find 12 billion a year to give away in foreign aid but when it comes to creating a level playing field for England’s young, all two and a half main parties have shown their contempt for England’s young and for that we must never forgive them.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink


      … the greatest travesty is that these crippling fees only apply to England’s young …

      The only antidote to such a disability is to start thinking of England and working for the end of the ‘United’ Kingdom, and the ‘U’K’s exit from the EU.

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


    • a-tracy
      Posted March 2, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      JoolsB –
      “A report comparing the different funding systems for 2014-15 shows that low-income Welsh students receive the highest cost-of-living grants and incur the lowest debts to pay for their degrees. The report compares grants for various incomes across all four UK nations, plus fees and student loans.
      In Wales, students from households with incomes of less than £18,000 get a cost-of-living grant (which does not have to be paid back) of £5,161 – nearly three times as much as the same group of students in Scotland (£1,750). It is also significantly more than the maximum cost-of-living grants in England (£3,387) and Northern Ireland (£3,475). The point at which families earn too much to qualify for any grant is also highest in Wales (a household income of just over £50,000) and lowest in Scotland (£34,000).”

  14. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the cause needs to be scrutinised rather than the outcome. University fees are too high and too diverse. There are alternative ways to learn which will not cost the Country or student anything. As far as revenue for Universities are concerned, the less people they employ , the fewer salaries have to be paid.

  15. NickW
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I recommend readers to access the UK Government websites for student finance before passing judgement on any manifesto proposals.

    If they do, they will discover that a student on a three your course outside London, who borrows £9000.p.a for fees and £4000 p.a for maintenance, will graduate with a loan of £39000.

    Using the Government’s own figures for repayment amounts and interest rates will show that a new graduate will have to earn a minimum of £45,000 p.a in order to repay enough to meet the yearly INTEREST on the loan.

    Earn less than £45000 p.a and that loan will get steadily bigger, reaching more than £100,000 if no payments are made due to low salaries or family circumstances.

    What the new system does is to put lipstick on a pig by an accounting fraud. The state will still have to pay for most student’s University education, but the outstanding loans are treated as an asset in the country’s accounts, enabling politicians to make completely untruthful claims about governnment spending and deficit reduction.

    The danger for students and new graduates is that a Labour government will regard new graduates as a source of income and jack up the repayments to punitive levels. That is already on the cards and is embodied in Labour’s new proposals.

    I have been doing the sums because my daughter is applying for University this year; and the potential debt levels are horrific and unpayable. Most loans and most of the interest charged will end up having to be written off.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:00 am | Permalink

      Indeed and especially for females who earn less and take career breaks for children.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        The females largely earn less due to the work life balance and career choices they (often very sensibly) make. Females without families earn more than the average male already.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          Society of course plays no role in determining their choices?

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 2, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      We told our children to think of it as a graduate tax 9% on top of tax and NI for most of your working life, over £16,000 pa earnings for the eldest child and over £21,000 for the youngest two.
      Are you sure you still want to go? we asked them.
      How can Labour take more than 9% when these young adults are already paying 12% NI between £5772 and £41,860 then 2% and 20% over £10,000 pa? Do they want them paying more than 41% over £21,000 ( or over £16,000 for the first set of student tuition fee loaners) because they educated themselves to a higher level? If Labour or the Conservatives plan to increase this repayment % then this needs highlighting now before the election.

  16. ian wragg
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    As someone who had free tertiary education in the 60’s I believe it should be the same today. This of course is not possible as the degree has become the new A level and we have to educate half of Europe as well.
    If we got rid of the rubbish Universities and went back to some good technical colleges we might just stand a chance in this ever competitive world.
    Turning out thousands of youngsters with useless bits of paper is not the answer.
    I see even the deputy Limp Dumb has turned on his master about his swivel eyed lunacy on all things EU. Can’t you see how CMD loves being in coalition with him.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:08 am | Permalink

      Indeed but a CMD is essentially the same as Cleg and he only has to suffer him due to CMD’s incompetence, lefty agenda and pro eu ratting at the last sitting duck election.

  17. stred
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    One of the actions of the coalition, and Labour before, which annoys me most is the raising of student loans for the English. It hits primarily at middle class families and young people who may be the brightest and have aspirations to better themselves, What could be more against conservative values? At present we have a system where students from low income families are supported and those from wealthy families can get their children into university with less competition. The middle class English are squeezed and struggle to justify attending long courses such as engineering, science and architecture, which are not well paid. No wonder the numbers of students from poorer families has increased while overall numbers have held up.

    They are told by ministers that they have a ‘good deal,’ as they will not have to pay it back until their earnings increase and that it may be cancelled after 30 years. The debt however hangs over them, making borrowing for mortgages impossible and salaries increase with time but the debt is not indexed. It is a trap set to entice the gullible. Your ministers should be ashamed of themselves. To see the Scots getting free education, while the English contribute to more and more subsidies sucks.

    Labour’s solution does not help. Why not keep the fees the same but give grants to English students to cover most of the fees? Then foreign students should not receive grants or loans unless there is security to be repaid. And the ridiculous levels of pay for Vice Chancellors and other top staff and excessive management should be controlled. They have helped themselves to the cash in the till, just like directors of large public companies, with their ‘you scratch my back….’ arrangements.

  18. dumpling
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Students would not have to pay tuition fees at all if it were not for the crazy target of wanting 50% of our school leavers to go to university. Only about 10% of the population is capable of obtaining an honours degree in traditional subjects such as languages, science, engineering, history, philosophy, etc. Students studying subjects such as interior design, sports sciences, media studies and the like, if they are considered necessary, should be given diploma status, partly sponsored by their employers. I achieved a chemistry qualification from the Royal Institute of Chemistry as it was known then, by day release and night school. This suited me as my A levels were not good enough to get me into a red brick university.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Not true, Dumpling !

      The number of first class hons graduates has rocketted in this vicinity – among people who were not known for being particularly academic at school.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        @Mondeo Man; “The number of first class hons graduates has rocketted in this vicinity”

        Yeah! Certificates are like tractor production figures, what do either prove, the USSR was on the face of it able to build world record numbers of tractors each year, but the Soviet farm collectives still could not get a tractor for love or money and when they could the tractors were not up to the work…

        Many businesses are no longer interested in mere certificates, recruitment processes more often than not now test actual theoretical knowledge and “personality traits” etc. via psychometrics, so ‘Dumpling’ is quite right, “degree courses” are no longer strictly necessary, if ever they really were as plenty of people have done just what ‘Dumpling’ did via night school etc. in the past, sometimes working their way to top jobs, and not just within FT100 type companies but within the professional organisations and institutes of their industry.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:02 am | Permalink


        • libertarian
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink


          Absolutely correct.

          Here is a snapshot of a recent employer survey

          What do you consider to be the most important factor when hiring a young person?

          • Level of qualification (GCSEs A-Levels, Degree) 20%
          • Academic results (i.e. the results they achieved e.g 2:1) 4%
          • Attitude 47%
          • Work Experience 10%
          • Understanding of your business 7%

          So the political obsession with grades C-A is completely useless in the real world where only 4% of employers are interested in the grade

      • William Gruff
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        Mondeo Man:

        I hope any intended irony is lost somewhere in the syntax. That you could be ‘celebrating’ a culture that elevates mediocrity and incompetence is a possibility too dreadful to contemplate.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        That is due to dumbing down of standards.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Dumpling – The true purpose of mass university education is to hide the youth unemployment figures – with the added bonus that the young become indebted to the state from a young age.

      One would have imagined – with record levels of higher education – that there would be more working class in pop, acting and politics. In fact, there are fewer than ever !

      One would have imagined that such education would have led to greater work place competency but instead we’re having to mass import ‘cheap’ labour because of the skills deficit. The government would rather do this on a non-selective basis as the pot-luck chances of finding better competencies among our own graduates must be lower than just about every other nation. Well. What else can we infer these insane policies ?

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        “One would have imagined – with record levels of higher education – that there would be more working class in pop, acting and politics. In fact, there are fewer than ever !”

        Especially seeing as most of those degrees are in arts, performing arts,economics etc.

      • APL
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Mondeo Man: “The true purpose of mass university education is to hide the youth unemployment figures”


  19. James Sutherland
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    In fact, the greatest beneficiaries would be those of us who emigrate after graduating, plus mature students doing degrees from interest rather than as the foundation of a career. (Emigrate, and you still have to pay back the loan – but, of course, none of the taxes which fund the cheaper tuition.)

    I can’t recall where off-hand, but someone pointed out our current student loan system amounts to a graduate tax anyway: graduates pay an extra percentage of income above the threshold each year until they’ve paid either 30 years or the value of the loan. Graduate and remain unemployed, you don’t pay a penny. (Meanwhile, if graduate’s boss finds a spare £100 to fund a pay rise for that graduate, the tax, NI and student loan repayments consume almost half.)

    So, Labour want to cut this de facto graduate tax by raiding pensions. Certainly bad government in my book.

  20. oldtimer
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Yet another political attack dog`s breakfast. And politicians wonder why they are held in such contempt.

  21. Bert Young
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    It was a move Labour were bound to make . The cost of education – at all levels , is high and directly and indirectly it is a burden on all households . I have a young child at an expensive independent school and it hurts whenever a new term begins . Her progress is , nonetheless , worth it and I am thankful she does not have to attend any of the local schools all of which are overcrowded and below par in OFSTED ratings .

    I also spend part of a day per week with highly intelligent graduates and undergraduates who often speak of the stringent approach to their lives while at a highly prestigious university . Some stay in touch after they have left and have embarked on earning a living . It is surprising how much “credit card” debt they have in addition to the costs of their education at £9,000 per year – amounts of £35-£45,000 have been mentioned . The burden they therefore have to overcome for quite a few years is substantial .

    All things considered I still wish my young child to aspire and reach the standard of entry to a prestigious university . Quite apart from the value of the academic challenge there is the social interplay that is bound to influence her life later as an adult . I cannot afford all this of course so I will be thankful for any hand-outs .

    The approach Labour is taking is deceitful . I know full well that if they give away in one direction it will be costed in another . I will more than likely emerge the “loser”. I want the best for my child and I hope she will be able to significantly add to the quality of life in her community . Her costs in education are an investment worth the risk .

  22. Atlas
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink


    This whole matter of University financing seems just to be a manifestation of the “instant gratification by borrowing money” ethos that New Labour promoted and subsequent politicians still seem to adhere to. I reckon that the banker backers of the political parties love this as this is how they make their money. The politicians don’t care, as it is only ‘fiat’ money and the economy will eventually go to hell in a handcart – but not on their watch they hope.

    David Willets was on the Daily Politics yesterday still smooth talking this (and most informatively not mentioning the interest that is racking up on those loans) in his exposition about “how it is smart to be in debt”. My generation thinks it is stupid to be in debt – hence the voter disconnect with the mainstream parties.

    If the only employment a graduate can get cannot repay his loan then I would suggest that he should not have been charmed into going to University in the first place.

  23. formula57
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Let us recall Labour has moved far from its pledge at the election when Blair was in power “not to introduce tuition fees and we have legislated to prevent that”. The British people rolled-over and accepted Labour’s subsequent introduction of fees so one wonders if this is an issue about which they care at all or about which they will believe Labour afresh.

    If embarrassing the Lib Dems is the aim, for very much less than a cost of £3 billion leaflets to ever household could be printed of your earlier blog post @ perhaps with the extract following in bold: –

    “The main point is this. There was no group of Conservatives designing the tuition fee scheme, no group pressing for it. It was not Conservative policy. The tuition fee scheme was designed by Dr Cable, and pressed by him. Conservatives went along with it, often reluctantly.”

  24. Richard1
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    A debate took place this am on the BBC’s a week in Westminster, chaired by left wing journalist Steve Richards. Left wing Helena Kennedy (Labour) was given approx 3/4 of the airtime against c 1/4 for Conservative David Willets. Willets nevertheless had the coherent argument. This was after far left Labour MP Dennis Skinner had been given a 10 minute free platform to speak unchallenged in favour of Miliband’s ridiculous plan to ensure all MPs are wholly dependent on the State for their incomes, and to exclude anyone from Parliament who is involved in business. I can see why this appeals to the statist poll tax funded BBC, but it is a scandal that such biased programming is permitted, especially in the run up to a general election. We need a subscription model for the BBC, it’s the only cure.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Did anyone listen to Any Questions today? The panel had 3 leftists (labour, green and lib dem), no Conservative, and one UKIP person. The green Ms Bennet was cheered hysterically whenever she spoke, Labours Emma Reynolds cheered for attacks on the unrepresented Comservatives, and the UKIP guy was booed and even slow hand clapped. Unless I misheard, next weeks programme is also to exclude the Conservatives. The BBC is now in a virulently anti-right, full on election mode. Conservative Central Office need to challenge this disgraceful bias. We also need to move quickly to a subscription model and get rid of the license fee if the
      conservatives win.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Well Natalie did virtually promise free houses to everyone but yes how can the have such bias, Especially the audience.

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Fat chance of that happening. The Conservatives have no will to win, which is hardly surprising when they are led by someone has had everything put on a plate for him.

      • Qubus
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        The audience reaction to QT illustrated perfectly why 50% of the population attending university is a gross mistake.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Maybe they are following Cameron’s shining example and refusing to take part. Why should they have to answer questions when they own the facts?

      • Stephen Berry
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        No, I didn’t as my appetite for such things has waned with age. I broke a habit and listened to John’s appearance recently but was amazed how much agreement there was between all the panellists. Even the ‘maverick vicar’ from the Guardian found it difficult to disagree. It only livened up when they discussed ‘English votes for English issues’.

        The Licence Fee needs to be made an issue of freedom, as far as is possible. If I buy a book, I should not have to subsidise the government publisher at the same time. If I want to watch the television, I should not have to subsidise the BBC, the TV channel dependent on government imposed levy.

        There are a lot of people out there, not necessarily Conservative, who in the age of the internet would like to get the Licence Fee off their backs. The right way forward is to call for the Licence Fee to be made ‘voluntary’. Then people who want to watch the BBC can pay the licence fee and people like thee and me won’t.

        The licence fee issue should be linked with a general liberalisation of broadcasting in the UK. For instance, is it not ridiculous that there are only two classical music stations in the UK when there are three in Chicago alone? At all events we should attempt to avoid making this issue a party political one.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          @Stephen Berry; “The Licence Fee needs to be made an issue of freedom, as far as is possible If I buy a book, I should not have to subsidise the government publisher at the same time. If I want to watch the television, I should not have to subsidise the BBC, the TV channel dependent on government imposed levy.”

          Indeed but many are quite happy to buy a subscription access to one TV channel but then subsidise many other channels! So I’m not at all convinced that your comment is anything but the usual anti BBC type attack, if you want freedom and fairness then surely you’ll agree with me and call for an end to such subscription packages were the customer has to subscribe to more channels than they actually want or to a “minimum channel package” before being able to further subscribe to the package they really want -for example sports or films.

          • Stephen Berry
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            Jerry, if I don’t like the pricing structure of the Sky package (and I don’t) I can always simply refuse to subscribe. If I don’t like the way some supermarket has priced its ‘offers’ I can avoid that supermarket and try another .

            But if I don’t like the BBC and would be perfectly happy watching Freeview, it’s just tough. You have to cough up anyway. That’s why I think the licence fee should simply be a freedom issue.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            @Stephen Berry; Don’t want to contribute to PSB television in the UK then do not expect to legally watch broadcast TV, simple.

            “Freedom of Choice” doesn’t mean freedom from contributing to the costs of a civilised society, and yes I do consider that PSB content contributes to a civilised society.

          • Stephen Berry
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            Is it so simple, Jerry? I don’t pay for Sky TV so I don’t get Sky TV. I would like not to pay for the BBC and be perfectly happy not receive it. But if other broadcasters want to send me free programmes, why shouldn’t I be able to watch them?

            Jerry, who got you to decide what constitutes a ‘civilised society’. Do you sit on a government committee which rules on such matters? What if I say that watching cricket and reading the novels of Marcel Proust are essential to a ‘civilised society’. Does that mean that the English Cricket Board and the publishers of Proust should be in receipt of a subsidy from the rest of us?

          • Jerry
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            Stephen Berry; Please feel free to actually find out what Public Service Broadcasting is and is not – even if the BBC was closed down and completely scrapped there would still need to be PSB, it would still need to be paid for, and would then have to be regulated in such a way so that the commercial and/or subscription broadcasters are made to broadcast such content often in prime-time slots. Have you ever stopped to wonder why commercial and subscription tend not to rock this boat?!

            Oh and what is PSB, it’s content that you should watch, not just what you want to watch or might do, although since ITV came along getting the average person to watch PSB content has been a bit like that water-trough in the middle of the field and that stubborn thirsty horse standing in the corner of said the field….

            Also, were would this Freedom trait you speak of end, CND members being allowed to withhold their income tax because they don’t need or do militarisation, should members of the Green party be allowed to withhold their taxes because they don’t use, want or need motorways etc. Were would you draw the line on this idea of yours of only paying (the “state”) for what you want.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        @Richard1; “The BBC is now in a virulently anti-right, full on election mode. Conservative Central Office need to challenge this disgraceful bias.”

        If there is evidence, not just opinion, then why not make a formal written complaint to the BBC directly yourself, and if needs-be stick with the process all the way up to the Trust if you feel that your evidence backs you case and the BBC is fobbing you off -or perhaps you are just content on having a rant on the interwebby thingy?…

        • Richard1
          Posted February 28, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          There’s no point you don’t get an acknowledgement still less a reply and the online form doesn’t work on a iPad. Probably you couldn’t complain to Pravda in the pre-1990s Soviet Union either. Nationalised industries are all the same. Choice and competiton are the only answer.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 28, 2015 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            @Richard1; “There’s no point you don’t get an acknowledgement still less a reply and the online form doesn’t work on a iPad.”

            Oh yes you do get a reply, I’ve had many! As for not working on an iPad, do printers not work either, thus you can’t compose a letter and send it via Royal Mail? Excuses, excuses, excuses…

        • Edward2
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          If you are lucky enough to get a reply it is one which says they have investigated and can see no bias.
          The culture in the BBC is Labour Guardian style which they are unable to self evaluate, because there are very few employed in the organisation who would argue that point of view in public.
          And to do that would be, I guess, detremental to ones career prospects.

          Its just a bit more balance I seek not a more right wing agenda.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            I’m not so irritated by bias on commercial TV or on Sky or on news channels like Fox.
            Simply because I’m not forced by law to pay a fee whether I want to watch their offerings or not.
            But I have to pay a fee to the BBC just to watch other channels.

            And under their charter to justify this unique compulsory levy it states the BBC must be balanced.
            Commercial channels are very different because they need large enough audiences to tempt enough advertising revenue to survive.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            Edward2; “If you are lucky enough to get a reply it is one which says they have investigated and can see no bias.”

            Indeed that might well be a first response, so if you are so sure of the facts then escalate the complaint, as I said all the way to the Trust and even then it would be possible to ask your MP to take the issue up, or perhaps write to the rest of the media (some quite like having a go at the BBC). So either Put-up or shut-up!

            Oh and what you describe happens with all the broadcasters, hence why there is Ofcom and their complaints procedures.

            “Its just a bit more balance I seek”

            In whose opinion would that be… As I have said many times, when the BBC receives complaints from both left and right about perceived political bias relating to the same content then surely it suggest that the BBC is some place around centre?

          • APL
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

            Re: BBC funding model.

            I wonder if we might give this topic a rest in the comments?

            Both sides are clearly entrenched in their opinions, and nothing either say is likely to sway the other.

            It must be quite disheartening for Redwood, to write an essay about A, and find the comments infested with comments about BBC funding model.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

            “The BBC is around centre”
            Jerry, come on…even the BBC has conceded it has a left wing culture.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            I agree APL.
            Jerry..are you listening?

          • Jerry
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Edward2; “Simply because I’m not forced by law to pay a fee”

            But you ARE, how many times do I have to explain how commercial and subscription TV is being funded by non discretionary fees (to pay for TV advertising) charged at the checkouts by either store or manufacturer.

            “under their charter to justify this unique compulsory levy it states the BBC must be balanced”

            Which it is, taken as a whole, if not then make that complaint…

            @APL; “I wonder if we might give this topic a rest in the comments?”

            BBC funding only ever comes up when because people like you keep bashing the BBC (often for party political reasons), stop doing so and I suspect the BBC would hardly be mentioned – over to you lot!… 🙂

          • APL
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

            Edward2: “Jerry..are you listening?”

            I guess that’d be a no, then.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Richard1; “…had been given a 10 minute free platform to speak unchallenged…”

      Of course such a free reign can also lead the metaphorical deployment of a length of rope on ones self…

  25. Liz
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Whatever the ins and outs of student loans – Labour is making the running at the moment with most of the Cabinet seemingly struck dumb. With the BBC campaigning hard for Labour the Conservatives need to be a bit more vocal about their successes and past Labour failures.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Liz – Or do a pact with Ukip to keep out of each other’s way where they can beat labour.

      It’s too late to start bringing the BBC into line.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous; “It’s too late to start bringing the BBC into line.”

        I suspect that election law might say otherwise, but of course that only applies once the official election actually start…

      • Life logic
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 3:22 am | Permalink

        Cameron appointed Lord Patten to the BBC so he clearly wanted a lefty, pro EU, big state, green crap, PPE think BBC ~ he certainly got one.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          @LL; Lord Pattern stepped down from the BBC Trust almost 10 months ago, do keep up! 🙂

          Oh and during Lord pattern’s time at the Trust the BBC scrapped the programme “The record Europe”, replacing it with a much dumbed-down programme fronted by an ex News Corp employee, so quite why you think Lord Pattern is Pro EU beyond having been a UK commissioner (someone has to do the job whilst we are a member!)? Surely if he as Pro EU as you imply he would have protected “The Record Europe”, never mind also radically reducing the amount of time given over to broadcasting EU parliamentary sessions, whilst often burring what coverage there is in various ‘grave-yard’ time slots during his tenure too…

          • Edward2
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            Sometimes Jerry I think you argue just for the sake of it.
            Patten is very pro EU.
            He has made many speeches strongly in favour of Europe and of the UK remaining in the EU.
            All available by a quick internet search.

          • APL
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

            Edward2: “Patten is very pro EU.”

            And in receipt of a stipend paid by the EU.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; I also think you argue just for the sake of it, ho-hum…

            @Edward2; @APL; I was talking about his roll at the BBC Trust, not his personal or political careers, and as I said, if he had wanted to “promote the EU” he certainly went about it in a very strange way, perhaps he is a believer in the Less is more concept.

            @APL; “And in receipt of a stipend paid by the EU.”

            As indeed are UKIP MEPs! Your point was what exactly?…

          • APL
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            As indeed are UKIP MEPs!

            Not sure why you are fixating on UKIP MEPs, the same could be said of Tory MEPs and Labour MEPs and Green MEPs.

            They at least have a rather small figleaf of respectability in that they subject themselves to the occasional scrutiny and approval (or otherwise) of their electorate.

            Jerry: “Your point was what exactly?…”

            Pattern not so much not at all since 1983. Which means he has been living very comfortably at the public expense with no democratic oversight for thirty two years.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            @APL; “Not sure why you are fixating on UKIP MEPs, the same could be said of Tory MEPs and Labour MEPs and Green MEPs.”

            Indeed, and Communist MEPs, the non aligned independents too, that was exactly my point, so why were you APL fixating on Lord Pattern’s pay whilst he was at the EU, the only issue within your comment, when he was being paid no differently to anyone else? Whatever…

    • Qubus
      Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Exactly ! Why are the Conservatives to silent about there (limited) achievements ? Labour and the Libdems seem to me to get the positive publicity. Where are all the articulate Conservatives ? Maybe we should field Boris a bit more often.

  26. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    At least half the university courses in the UK are clearly not worth the circa £50K plus interest plus three years loss of earning that they cost and graduates often (and quite rightly feel deceived & cheated).

    David Willetts (often referred to as two brains Willetts) yet another Oxford PPE graduate is fond of saying that graduates earn more than non graduates. Perhaps not being science/maths trained he has rather missed the point (or perhaps he know it full well but is trying to deceive us). Graduates do not (outside a few over protected professions) earn more because of their degree. It is a silly confusion of cause and effect. They went to university because they were bright and probably had wealthier/cleverer/better connected parents – these are also largely the reasons that they earn more not the university degree training itself. Furthermore this graduate earnings information is completely out of date when far, far fewer students went to University.

    • stred
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      When HMG allows councils or universities to charge a fee for a service, they inevitably all charge the highest fees and cover the greatest area for charging it. So, dumb universities increase student numbers, charge the full whack, make courses easier and increase admin numbers, salaries and bonuses. The same has happened with HMO licensing, with new departments, full of environmental health officers demanding all sorts of expensive alterations, while nothing happens to reduce antisocial behaviour in geniune problem areas.

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’m still not in favour of the present system whereby the government arranges for loans to be extended to far too many students, lumbering them with huge debts which may or may not be repaid, rather than the previous, more selective, system whereby the government provided straight grants which did not have to be repaid except in the rare cases where the person signally failed to devote himself to his studies; so obviously I’m unenthusiastic about complicated proposals to fiddle around with interest rates.

    Back in the days when I was at university there were still relatively few female students and to avoid wasting talent it was clearly necessary to expand the number of places and encourage the brighter girls to take them up; but it became ridiculous when the political parties started a bidding war over the proportion of school leavers who should go on to university, which had the knock on effect of making the old grant system less and less affordable. Given that half of the population have below average IQ, and given that some of those with above average IQ choose not to go on to university, it seems an inevitable consequence that overall universities must now be admitting some students with below average academic ability, which was never their intended purpose.

    Personally I would drop the loan idea, and go back to a system of grants for the best school leavers studying the most useful subjects at the best institutions, with others left to finance themselves however they could if they still wanted to go on to university and could get the offer of a place, but I can’t see any party daring to propose that.

  28. ian
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Mr webb pension reforms are hopeless, no idea at all,

    The whole pension system needs to be scrapped, It costs about 50 billion a year in taxes.
    The best way to pay for uni is with your wages and pension. We shold move to a singapore pension system and uni loan interest rate should not be more than two per cent a year at 45,000 pounds that 900 pounds interest a year so at 30 years that would be a extra 27,000 pounds a total of 72,000 pounds, i do not believe in compounded interest for student loans and nothing is add to your debt and till you earn over 21.000 pounds which would go up inline with wage inflation. Some student will not have a lot of debt if they going in to the NHS and things like that, the government pays all term fees.

    Singapore pensions are the best, It allows you to take out 25 per cent of your pension for deposit on a house and you can start drawing your pension at 55 years old and put money back in that you have taken out. Flexibility is key.

    The government should pay every one who go to work on a sliding scale, people at the bottom get the most and for people who net pay is over 100,000 pounds get nothing.
    So if you are average worker the government would pay you 9% of your net pay your company 4% and you 4% which would be 17% per cent and could make that up to 20% if you wish so you have got 20% of your net pay going in to your pension which you uses 25 per cent of for a deposit on a house loanor pay down your uni loan.

    This program would save the government about 28 billion a year and you will be better off. This does not inclued government workers but it should and save you the tax payer a lot more money. john can add it up and report back with a break down.

  29. lojolondon
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    John., I think a far more important u-turn from the LibDems concerns their commitment to a referendum – prominent in the last manifesto, they made every effort to ensure that a referendum would not be held, whipping in the Commons and the Lords. I wish Labour would expose again this dishonest and undemocratic hypocrisy.

  30. ian
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Pension should be run more like isa, the government reckon it them 8 billion a year to let you have your pension tax free but it cost them nothing for isa what is the truth of it all john.

  31. ian
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I got it it the money you lose in IHT a year

  32. John
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    you, like every broadcaster in the land, have failed to mention that this charge only applies to the English. The Scots don’t pay it, the Welsh don’t pay it and the NI don’t pay it. Do you think this might be because those countries have representative bodies in their own country which the English do not have. We have no voice so can be confidently ignored by the British government.
    I am an ex-soldier and signed to serve Queen and Country, if I were to have my life over again I could not swear allegiance to a country that does not accept the English people as even worth a mention.

    Reply I agree tuition fees reveal unfairness and have done much in recent months to highlight the need for justice for England.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      Then why did you vote to increase the unfairness John by voting in favour of £9,000 fees knowing they would only affect England’s young? Only six Conservative MPs voted against the increase despite most of them ‘representing’ English seats – they (and you) should hang their heads in shame!

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply:- I ask again John, if you agree tuition fees reveal unfairness for England’s young, why did you and your colleagues vote in favour of tripling them to £9,000 knowing full well they only affect our kids, their constituents?

  33. ian
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Ukrain runs out of food, yes no food, is the uk going to fly in food for free because they have no money as well, it look like you can not eat bullets and arms, yes lots of money for bullets and arms but no money for food, who would like to be on the side of the west now with no food. Oh what a great war. like i say, are politician all talk no brains.

  34. libertarian
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    As I’ve mentioned on here a few times no longer is a degree a certainty to obtain a well paid job. Employers much prefer experience and a work ethic attitude.

    What makes me laugh is that academics and politicians always sneer at me when I say this in various public meetings etc.

    Then laughably they claim that the tuition fee loans don’t really matter as very few graduates get a good enough job to pay back the loans.

    Is it any wonder politicians are held in utter contempt when they can’t think their way out of a wet paper bag.

    To be totally frank the Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP policies on spending are no more creditable than Natalie Bennetts woeful Green Party car crash on home building. They are just better at blagging the numbers . Until our government produce a set of books like they insist on every business producing we will never know the truth.

    Our government at European, central and local level waste 100’s of billions of pounds of taxpayers money every year. The single biggest rise in public sector spending could easily be achieved by stopping the waste and using the saved money to spend wisely on essential public services.

    In my opinion ALL politics and ALL political promises are rent seeking and pork barrel projects.

  35. Bazman
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Many go to university as they cannot find a job a great unspoken truth. I did running up £1750 in loans which I paid back after being made redundant. Waste a few years having fun and hopefully get a job afterwards. It would have been expensive and wasteful time had I quit a full time job learning useless facts and irrelevant information not even recognised by employers inbetween being skint and dossing around. Kept a few lecturers in easy teaching work after they quit industry and landlords/ shops/pubs catering for students. Massively expanded since comes as no surprise.
    I have ‘educated’ myself more surfing the web.
    Another myth like self employment is the road to riches and freedom or becoming a landlord is easy money
    Is for a few…

    • Edward2
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      You old cynic you.

    • libertarian
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink


      “Another myth like self employment is the road to riches and freedom”

      I do like you Bazzie as you are so easy to prove wrong

      Average UK wage £27k

      Average Self Employed UK wage £33k

      Lots of other benefits to being self employed. Of course it doesn’t suit everyone, as you need to be dynamic, proactive and willing to learn. If you’re the type that likes to do 9-5, go through the motions and be taken care of by someone else then it will never suit you.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        I agree libertarian.
        And if you can, you should try to, as it creates additional economic activity as well as employment opportunities for others.

        Just think of the national benefit if more people like Baz started a small company, employed staff, on top money of course, and payed large amounts of extra tax to the State.

        • libertarian
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink



          We should encourage Bazman to put his money where his mouth is. Show us how to run a proper business with full social responsibility. Paying everyone no matter what their skill level, attitude, attendance or job worth is at the highest level whilst also giving them long paid holidays whilst paying 90% tax on their behalf. What could possibly not work there?

      • Bazman
        Posted March 2, 2015 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        My father was self employed most of his life, so I ain’t passed the bar, but a I know a little bit…
        In a culture where only the best are rewarded, where cut-price is everything, and where low pay is officially applauded as a sign of productivity, life for many self-employed people is very tough. These people are the hidden unemployed and the hidden low paid. They’re self-employed because the safety net has been pulled from underneath them. These are the statistics of desperation UK – the part of the economy that the top 1% or so of self employed people will never know exists.
        Using HMRC data on the number of self employed people the average, inflation adjusted, earnings of those who are self employed fell from just under £15,000 a year at the turn of the century to £10,400 in 2011, a real decline of just over 31%. Yoo are now telling us that it is 33k? As if.
        Greece has the highest rate of self employment, so what does that tell you.
        Easier to just have a job and lets face it how many on 50k a year could get this self employed. A couple earning 2k a month would have to kill themselves to earn 4k a month between them take home how every month of every year even if they could. Get real.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 2, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          As Libertarian has shown the average pay for self employed is currently higher than pay of employed people.

          Liked your personal anecdote though Baz

        • libertarian
          Posted March 2, 2015 at 11:29 pm | Permalink


          Oh dear do you NEVER learn? For crying out loud man, why don’t you just check before posting your made up numbers?

          Here’s a link

          It says

          Top Self Employed wage is £52,500

          Average is £31,000

          lowest is £24500

          Your numbers are made up chuff

          • Bazman
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            Here you can see the average salary for the job you entered, based on our most recent job adverts.
            If you Type in ‘London’ It says from a sample of 52 job adverts! LOL!
            It is based on their job adverts. ………………………….
            Office for National Statistics says that average weekly earnings (excluding bonuses) for employees were £450 a week in June 2014. The latest estimate for median weekly income from self-employment is £207 a week.
            For sure many do very well from self employment.
            But it’s worrying that much of the recent increase is due, as the ONS says, to the limited opportunities for people to move out of self-employment.
            It’s not hard to see why some people would want to stop being self-employed as their average income has collapsed in recent years. The latest assessment of earnings from self-employment is £207 a week, less than half that of employees. They also don’t receive any sick or holiday pay, nor do they have an employer contribute towards their pension.
            Self-employment appears to be a key factor in the UK economy’s shift towards low-paid work. Many people want to work for themselves. But the growth in self-employment is reducing people’s pay, job security and retirement income and is likely to be reducing the government’s tax take too.
            You are living in a dream world.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 7, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink


            What total drivel you write

            A MEDIAN is NOT an average, for goodness sake someone who claims to be such a scientific genius as you should know the difference.

            Here is the ONS note about their figures on self employed pay

            Note though that household surveys generally underestimate income from self-employment as income generally comes from a wide variety of different sources and the estimate relies on respondent recall which can often be difficult.
            The figures for the income of the self-employed will include those individuals who made a loss in their business and hence in theory had a negative income for the year, whereas employees do not earn a negative wage. Therefore £207 is not an accurate figure.

            Oh and of course their income is calculated AFTER expenses not before as with permanent employees

            1) Its a CHOICE and only a choice to be self employed IF one didn’t earn enough then there’s no reason to choose it

            2) A lot of self employed people are self employed for lifestyle reasons & only work a small number of hours per week

            3) 5% of self employed people work less than 8 hours week

            4) The largest rise in self employment 237,000 is from Director, Manager & senior official level

            5) 356,000 self employed people have FULL TIME jobs and are self employed in 2nd jobs

            If as you erroneously claim self employment was a downshifting in earnings you would have to wonder why 4 million people have CHOSEN to do it. There is NO reason what so ever to register as self employed if you don’t earn anything.

            The ONS does NOT say there are limited opportunities to move out of self employment what the report ACTUALLY said was that around 37% of people leave self employment each year.

            So Bazman, you really need to stop spouting myths and get yourself on a business course, maybe you could earn more than £6.50 an hour if you left the Fred Kite stuff behind and joined the 21st century

          • libertarian
            Posted March 7, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


            Here’s an interesting survey of 1,000 which purports to show that the average earnings for a self employed freelancer are £50,000 per year i.e. double average perm wage


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      “Many go to university as they cannot find a job a great unspoken truth.”

      Not unspoken in this household, I can assure you.

  36. bigneil
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Is that price the same for foreign students? -If so isn’t it just opening the door to even more foreign students to come to fake colleges and uni with the only aim to get here, then vanish from the authorities. Just another way of increasing illegal migration?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 3:30 am | Permalink

      It is cheaper for eu students as they are far less likely to ever repay the loans as are females due to career breaks and they choose lower earning jobs, so it discriminates against English males.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Choose lower earning jobs? Again society plays no part? They just choose to be paid less in an easy job. That downtrodden oppressed white middle class English male? Not all there are you?

  37. DaveM
    Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    My daughter’s a first year student in Wales. She thinks it’s incredibly unfair that many of her fellow students (and those in Scotland) don’t have to have loans. And neither she nor any of her friends believe that Labour – or any other party – would change things.

    Electioneering nonsense to cover over things like fairness for England and immigration.

  38. ian
    Posted March 1, 2015 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    What ever way you look at it you are being conned by professional politician. All day every day, i can only think that you love it, gives you something to moan about after you have voted.

    You can do something about it, stop keeping up with the jones, stop the loan you take out, only buy what you need, GDP is there god to borrow more money on your behalf, bring it down. It the consumer who rules this economy not politician it you the people, without you they are nothing, i know that they have borught you up to borrow and spend but if you want chanage and your england back you must go the other way. Once you have there attention you will get what you want, new tax system new pension system no more borrowing QE no windmills no wars and so on and do the unthinkable renege on the debt which can never be paid back. It will all end one day so step up to the plate and pick the day. Politician are all talk with your money, they like looking big on the world stage giving away your money.

  39. Steve Cox
    Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    I seem to recall a year or so back that Red Ed was also toying with the idea of capping the 25% tax free lump sum at some pitiful level like £25K or £30K, a sum which would hardly buy you a decent car never mind paying off the mortgage or funding a nice boat. Given the potential that this idea has to raise oodles of addition revenue that Old Labaa can then fritter away on its favoured clients I’m guessing that it won’t be long before that proposal is back on the table too.

  40. David Price
    Posted March 1, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Whilst I have no truck with Labour and the LibDems you invite comparison and the latest antics of Ofsted and the Secretary of State over the Durham Free School show the Conservative government in a very bad light. Compare these actions with the measures taken against the Birmingham trojan horse scandal and in my view the governments actions in Durham are worse than cowardly.

    The Durham incident and the track record over EVEL, Scottish referendum, the recent attempted cheapskate bribe of OAPs, the EU and the Ukraine have made me too angry for words. So, whilst I might support you as local MP I will not support the Cameron party.

  41. Bazman
    Posted March 1, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I suspect a large subsided based industry exists around worthless training in particular in the North East offering pointless courses to certain groups of little or no worth.
    When a factory I was working at a few years ago ran out of work we had the choice of going home for a week with no pay or attending a course on 5S (methodology) which was basically how to tidy up a cupboard. Paid for by government money and taught by North East based company.
    We got a certificate and to this day still send literature advertising more courses of little value.

    • libertarian
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink


      You’re right except that its not government money its taxpayers money and its one of the many ways that the tax collected is wasted by government & public sector.

      That is why socialism and long term Keynesianism fail, there is no real rationale for the spending, there’s no mechanism of feedback to ensure its well spent, or useful.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 1, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian; “That is why socialism and long term Keynesianism fail,”

        Except what Bazman described is neither a product of socialism or Keynesianism, it’s a commercial industry out to make as much profit as possible from providing government funded training- unlike the “Keynesian FE colleges” of old.

        The current system is a total mess, the old system you talk of might have been open to abuse by the “ever lasting student” types but I suspect that it still cost a lot less in real terms than the current “training industry” that Bazman is talking about and which is still ultimately funded by the tax payer…

        • libertarian
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink


          Its exactly the same as the old way of doing it, except now its been outsourced to private companies. Oh and quite a few of them aren’t profit making technically they are CIC’s or social enterprises, but whatever. Its still taxpayer stimulus. Socialism and Keynesian is the taking of taxpayers money and spending it on various activities that supposedly stimulate the market.

          We also still do have FE colleges as well of course, and they compete in some areas with outsourced training companies.

          I do agree the whole thing is a dog’s breakfast

          • Jerry
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            @libertarian; The point I think you missed is that (what ever the base these private training ‘companies’ have been founded on) there is now one or more extra layers of bureaucracy [1] that has to be paid for. In the same way as job search/employment support is now often a third-party out-sourced service and not carried out directly by the DWP’s own (“Job Centre” etc.) staff.

            [1] often for no other reason than political dogma, removing the public sector to give the private sector a slice of the cake, sometimes even though it actually costs the tax payer more

          • libertarian
            Posted March 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink


            No I didn’t miss the point at all , it reinforces my point. I agree with you it adds an unnecessary layer or two of bureaucracy unnecessary costs and quite often fails to deliver anything of value. Thats my point about using taxpayers money to “stimulate” the economy, it becomes pork barrel dogma and not effective use of public funds for true public services

  42. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Apart from the British and American corporate banks/companies based in Europe…can anybody report on the “jobs” you (a Brit) can get there? Thats the ones that require a degree of course. Not the non job type that proliferate here.

    Won’t goto Europe again…don’t want to see the misery created by France & Germany.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      @Ex-expat Colin; “Won’t goto Europe again…don’t want to see the misery created by France & Germany.”

      You won’t go to Norway or Switzerland, even though both are geographically in Europe but neither are in either the EU or the EZ? Oh do stop ranting on about “Europe”, if you mean the EU/EZ then for goodness sake say so!

  43. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 2, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    The pensioners who will not be able to avoid the tax increase proposed, or even be able to mitigate the effects of it at all, are those long-serving public sector workers on relatively high salaries in final salary pension schemes: headmasters and some teachers, doctors, senior nurses, civil servants and some others. Most are unionised in some way. It is hard to imagine them accepting this proposal easily.

    I have a private sector pension pot which would be impacted by the proposed lower LTA. The solution is simple: I just don’t save more than the LTA into it and the government get nothing. In any event I do not get a tax break on it anyway, it is simply deferred tax, whatever I put in now I get taxed on when I take it out. So funding higher education in that way is purely short term. If I DO put more than the LTA into my pension then I just leave the excess, tax free, to my children as a pension pot, again the government get nothing extra.

  44. Tony Wakeling
    Posted March 2, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    The universities should be self-supporting. Teaching in ENGLISH makes them attractive to Chinese, Indian and other Asian students with competition only from USA, Australia etc. Simply fill them to gunwales charging as much as the market will allow, fees to paid in full, in advance including a deposit to ensure they leave after graduating (except of course those we wish to remain). The universities could then provide full scholarships open only to native born U.K (excluding Scottish) students who MERIT them.
    I write as a State Scholar from a single parent (mother widowed 1940) household.

  45. Jon
    Posted March 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I think the pension restrictions will backfire as well. It will further highlight the discrepancy of a £1m limit on private pensions but not mentioning the much higher limit for public sector and MP’s pensions. They can fund a pension that is worth well over £2m before having to pay the punitive tax. Brining the LTA down to £1m will make that untenable and could result in a drastic cut or high tax bill for many public sector and MP’s pensions.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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