Payback time?

September 27, 2002

In your report ("UK graduates earn highest rate of return", THES , August 30), London School of Economics' Nick Barr says that "graduates earn an extra £400,000 over a lifetime and therefore it is right that a contribution is made towards... higher education". Since the extra tax accruing from those earnings would be not less than 50 per cent - NIS, income tax of 40 per cent and VAT of 18 per cent on consumption spending from the extra earnings - Barr's "therefore" is less than compelling. Or does he expect us to believe that the LSE spends £200,000 per graduate it produces? And could he explain what public services, other than HE, graduates have received vis à vis non-graduates?

Tim Curtin
Visiting fellow
Australian National University

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