Labour late to the Conservative tax

January 6, 1995

The latest U-turn from the Labour Party on a graduate tax is surely one of its most spectacular policy reversals in recent days.

Conservative Students have campaigned consistently over the past six years for the principle of students contributing something to their higher education. Through the student loans scheme there has been a popular acceptance of the idea that those who directly benefit from higher education should meet part of the financial burden of living costs at university.

This equitable principle of a small student contribution towards the increasing costs of higher education has been fought tooth and nail by the Labour Party and its student wing, because it was claimed to discourage potential students from entering university.

It appears now that the Labour Party accepts what they have ignored for the past six years; that since the introduction of student loans the numbers entering higher education have actually increased. So much for the idea of a disincentive.

It is pleasing that the Labour Party agrees with the concept of student contributions which has done so much to facilitate the expansion of higher education. What is typical, though, of the Labour party is that its first instinct is to tax the successful rather than contemplate less punitive forms of financing our students at university.

ANDREW REID National chairman, Conservative Students.

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