Payback’s a hitch

October 1, 2015

Nick Hillman says, “I realise [that] some people in the sector will think that is a harsh view, but no political party opposing fees has won an election in the lifetime of current sixth-formers and it seems unlikely that is going to change any time soon.” (“Could Corbyn win mean less scrutiny of HE policy?”, 14 September.)

He appears to forget that for the first time since the Second World War the Liberal Party came to hold power for five years, albeit with the Conservatives. They secured enough MPs to do that on the basis of one promise that made them distinctive: their opposition to university fees. They failed to deliver on that promise and suffered for it at the polls in 2015.

University students, future students, those already paying back fees and the parents and grandparents of all these groups know that most of the loans currently being granted cannot be repaid. Even the current government now acknowledges that. Future taxpayers will have to make up any shortfall. These mostly are the same people who will not be able to repay their fees. The future bill will be enormous unless we find a better way to organise ourselves soon and stop pretending that we are so very different from countries such as Germany.

Accepting that the policies you have advocated for so long have failed is very difficult, but high fees and ever growing loans have now been tried and tested – and found wanting. One reason why leading Conservatives favour loans is that they are wealthy enough to pay their children’s fees up front. There are no interest payments for them to make, and they get to pay less tax, including less inheritance tax. You can fool most people most of the time, but not for ever.

Danny Dorling
Marston, Oxford


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com

Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday. View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Forrest Post Doctoral Research Fellow

University Of Western Australia

Research Fellow in Statistical Epidemiology

London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (lshtm)

Phone Advisor

Gsm London
See all jobs

Most Commented

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'