Opposition Day — [16th Allotted Day] — Student Maintenance Grants

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:49 pm on 19th January 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gordon Marsden Gordon Marsden Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Minister (Education) 1:49 pm, 19th January 2016

Perhaps if the hon. Gentleman listens as I talk further about the way in which these things have changed, he will understand that what was introduced in 2012 and the explanations—I will not call them apologies—that his Government gave for tripling tuition fees were based on a series of quid pro quos, all of which they have now abandoned. The pattern I have talked about is also seen in the number of people doing higher education in the so-called “post-92” universities and receiving the maintenance grant. That is why million+, whose membership contains a significant number of those post-92 universities, has expressed its alarm in the briefing it prepared for today’s debate. It said that

“by virtue of nothing more than household income, some students will be saddled with debts far in excess of their fellow students.”

It continued:

“the freezing of the earning repayment threshold for five years will also exacerbate this problem and will hit lower earning graduates the hardest.”

My former colleague Bill Rammell, who was a higher education Minister and is now vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, made precisely those points in an excellent piece for Politics Home today.