Tony Blair's shameful secrets 2

November 29, 2002

David Greenaway suggests that increased fee contributions of £5,000 a year are appropriate even for low-income families because of the alleged graduate lifetime earnings premium of £400,000 (Letters, THES , November 22).

He omits to point out that this premium generates some £125,000 in extra tax revenues, that is, eight times the cost of higher fees. But if the estimated higher education funding shortfall of £3 billion requires additional revenue from graduates, there is a very simple solution that dispenses with the need for higher upfront fees. Levy a hypothecated surcharge of 2 per cent, shared between employee and employer, on the lifetime earnings of all graduates, past, present and future - including Tony Blair, David Greenaway and myself.

That way those who benefit the most financially from a degree will distribute the most, and the £3 billion a year required could be raised immediately (5 million existing graduates earning an average of £30,000 a year levied at 2 per cent).

Steve Giles
Nottingham

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