Mahmood moots 'hybrid' model of funding

October 4, 2012

Shabana Mahmood, the shadow higher education minister, has said she is interested in exploring a "hybrid" funding system between tuition fees and a graduate tax as an alternative to current government policy.

In an interview with Times Higher Education during the Labour Party conference, held in Manchester from 30 September to 4 October, she discussed her party's current policy to lower the fee cap to £6,000, and whether the party could go further.

She said Labour's current model would see "highest earning graduates paying a little more; it envisages some element of over-payment by those graduates. It functions much more like a graduate-tax-type system."

She added of a possible future policy: "There's a lot of different ideas for that hybrid world between a straight fees system and a straight graduate-tax system, which I'm very interested in looking at."

Asked if she could envisage Labour spending more public money on higher education than its current proposal foresees, Ms Mahmood said: "I can't make any spending commitments, obviously. But our £6,000 proposal is revenue neutral.

"I'll have to make my pitch for higher education to both Eds [Miliband, the Labour leader, and Balls, the shadow chancellor] when we're looking at the manifesto.

"But my starting point is, firstly, restoring the sense of balance to the funding of higher education, sharing that burden more fairly between the student and the state."

She said of recent figures showing a 54,000 fall in the number of students accepting places for 2012: "I find it astonishing David Willetts [the universities and science minister] says these numbers are modest. That's not modest ... we've got a real problem when it comes to aspirations of young people and their entry into higher education, which he is just not focused on. He's complacent about [it]."

Ms Mahmood also said all private providers should be subject to the regulatory requirements in place for universities, otherwise there was potential for "long-term damage" to the whole sector. It was "not good enough" for the government to be "ducking" debate on the issue by shelving plans for an immediate higher education bill, she added.

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

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study