Ed Miliband talks of ‘radical offer’ on fees

Could remark be hint of policy shift towards graduate tax?

March 25, 2014

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Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband has said that Labour wants to give voters a “radical offer” on tuition fees at the next election, a possible hint that the party could replace tuition fees with a graduate tax.

“Young people feel they have no control because they are going to get into mountains of debt if they go to university,” he said yesterday during an appearance on ITV1’s The Agenda programme.

“We do want a radical offer on tuition fees because the future of our young people - something totally absent from [last week’s] Budget - is a massive issue that our country faces,” he added.

In December last year, Liam Byrne, the shadow universities, science and skills minister, said that Labour’s election manifesto for 2015 could include a “long-term shift to a graduate tax”.  

Currently, Labour policy is to cut tuition fees from a maximum of £9,000 a year to £6,000, although Mr Byrne said at the time that this “is what we would do if we were in government today”.

The National Union of Students has backed a graduate tax in the past, but the vice-chancellors’ body Universities UK has said that it could not support such a policy.

Mr Miliband argued for a graduate tax and an end to fees when campaigning to become Labour leader in 2010.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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