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UCU responds to Vince Cable's speech on graduate tax plans

15 July 2010

UCU said today that its concerns about government plans for the future of university funding remained after a speech from the business secretary Vince Cable. The union said the government needed to clarify if students would be picking up the bill, through a graduate tax or other funding models, for its cuts agenda.

The union said it would judge any new plans on whether they increase the overall cost of getting a university education or reduce it and added that what the government decides to call its plans were less important than what they do.
The union said it was surprised that the government appeared to only now be asking Lord Browne to look at a graduate tax and questioned exactly what the review had been doing if not exploring all the options around the future of university funding.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Vince Cable's speech this morning will do little to convince students or their parents that university debt would not increase under plans for a graduate tax. Whether or not graduate debt goes up will be the key test for students and their parents around the fairness of the system.
'The government must understand that it simply cannot rebrand student debt as a graduate tax, nor should it expect students to pick up the bill for its punitive cuts agenda. We were a little concerned to hear that Vince Cable was only now asking Lord Browne to look at graduate tax ideas. It certainly raises the worrying question of exactly what the review has been doing up until now.'
UCU has called for business to pay its fair share towards higher education by raising Corporation Tax to just the G7 average. Full details of the plans can be found at
Last updated: 11 December 2015