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Lib Dems propose graduate tax to replace fees

21 September 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Tax, loan or fee? It's the lifetime cost of university that matters, not what politicians call it, responds UCU

UCU today said that however politicians dressed up proposed changes to student finance, students and their parents would judge them simply on whether or not they were fair and if they further increased the cost of university or the debt burden after graduation.
Delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool this morning passed a motion* that called on the party to explore the, 'possibility of building cross-party support around replacing tuition fees and student loans with a graduate tax system.'
In response, UCU said the failure by the Liberal Democrats to give any details of what a graduate tax would look like or how it would work had exposed its potential problems. UCU added that the Browne review of university funding needed to explore all possible ways of funding higher education and warned that if it merely reported alternative ways of asking students to pay more it would have failed its remit.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Hard-working families, who aspire for their children to go to university, will judge any new proposals on whether or not they make it more expensive to get a degree, not whether they are called a tax, a loan or a fee. The failure by the Liberal Democrats to offer anything concrete on what their proposals would look like, or how they would work, has just raised more questions.
'We believe all parties and Lord Browne need to seriously look at forcing big business to finally pay its fair share for the numerous benefits it receives from higher education. If Lord Browne just comes up with ways to make students pay more then his review will have no credibility.'

* F34 Policy Motion Ensuring Fairness in a Time of Austerity