Where hardship abounds

October 22, 2009

The anguished response of the president of the National Union of Students to my article on student finances ("The life of Riley? Hardly", 15 October) leads me to recall the words of Mandy Rice-Davies: "He would say that, wouldn't he?"

More seriously, Wes Streeting needs to learn that the gadgets he regards as "essentials" of 21st-century life are beyond the means of many ordinary people whose taxes help to pay for students' education and whose own household budgets do not leave even his (underestimated) 13.8 per cent for fun.

Kevin Sharpe, Professor of Renaissance studies, Queen Mary, University of London.

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