Cable lays plan for graduate tax
You want fries and extra income tax payments with that?
Vince Cable today laid out the ground rules for debate on funding higher education and strongly hinted he favours a graduate tax. But he stressed this was the start, not the end, of the debate.
Cable, an ex-lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said that after 50 years of expanding universities the UK now had to accept that a period of shrinkage was unavoidable.
He said that whatever future system was chosen it was all but inevitable that students would pay more.
Cable said he accepted the economic contribution of universities. He said:
They do this directly in the case of science, maths, engineering, computer science, medicine, modern languages, and professional services like business studies and accounting. Even much maligned ‘media studies’ helps to feed one of Britain’s most rapidly growing and successful industries. And what my father used to describe as ‘arty farty’ subjects feed into the rapidly growing and successful industries like creative design, publishing and music.
Cable pointed out that when he was in sixth form there were barely two dozen universities to go to, compared to 160 today.
The Business Minister said that in reality almost all students already pay a form of 'graduate tax' in the form of student loan repayments. The problem is that this is like a poll tax - it's the same for everyone regardless of their expected income.
Graduates with medical degrees for instance can expect a higher lifetime income than male arts graduates.
He said: "Payments should be variable and tied to earnings... By looking at the periods of time over which contributions are made, the level of thresholds that trigger the contribution, the rate at which contributions are paid, and the other key variables, it may be possible to levy graduate contributions so that low graduate earners pay no more (or less) and high earners pay more."
He accepted that universities wanted security around funding, but warned they would also have to think creatively about bringing in extra funding. He suggested a greater range of courses and qualifications could be one way to do this like two-year courses or allowing students to transfer between colleges more easily.
The full text of the speech is here. ®
The only problem is...
A while ago, the BBC basically proved that the "average" graduate, if there is such a thing, already pays something along the lines of £500,000 more taxes over a lifetime than a non-graduate, through increased income tax due to higher average salary, buying more therefore paying more VAT etc.
So graduates ALREADY pay more tax than others, and they want to tax them again?
...your plumber also is self employed, may go days / weeks / months without work and wasn't funded by the tax payer.
Why should he pay for your higher education?
I've know people that have been in University for years (by that 10+) and never paid a penny in.
Long long ago, when I were a student, if you were good enough to do a degree you got the costs covered and money to live on. The simple argument was that the UK benefited so much from your eduction (not least your higher life's worth of tax revenue) that it made sense. Degrees offered were by and large aimed at what the country needed.
Fast forward to a world where 50%, and not 5%, are getting a 'degree' and you see the costs are much higher and the benefit per student far, far, less. Universities are now business drive, and so offer the cheapest and most popular degrees for school leaver. Great idea that?
Along the way we lost the apprenticeship schemes and HNC/HND qualifications that were useful and worth having for a large proportion of the population. Another dumb move by politicians and poly/FE leaders.
Finally, for those who complain about the problems of non-degree holders being unable to string a sentence together, you might want to ask why school is not enough? At one time decent highers / A-levels were enough to get a decent non-specialist job. Why are they now looking for 'graduates' instead?
Why force universities to take poorly performing students because they cane from a poor school (a Labour hobby-horse) rather than FIXING THE DAMN SCHOOL SYSTEM?
Rant over, at least I don't teach any more.