In 2012 the coalition government raised fees for English university undergraduate education to a maximum of £9000, placing it amongst the most expensive in the world. These fees are matched in other parts of the UK (depending on certain conditions). The argument at the time of the rise was that it would be offset by a benevolent, state-subsidised loan scheme. One year later, Danny Alexander has confirmed government plans to sell off the student loan book. The economic wisdom of this is much disputed (although it is obviously politically useful to remove the loan book from the accounts, where it shows as public debt). What is more clear is that involving commercial providers would inevitably lead to pressure to raise interest rates, and there are suggestions even that rates on existing loans could be retrospectively inflated. This would be disastrous for future generations and grossly unfair on earlier ones. We call on the government to abandon its plans to privatise student loans.
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