Micawber factor

March 29, 1996

Your report of the findings of the Public Accounts Committee on the operations of the Student Loans Company (THES, March 22) rightly records the amount of the total outstanding loan portfolio which it expects to be irrecoverable due to default in the long term.

However, the Pounds 15 million expected to be irrecoverable represents under 2 per cent of the total loan portfolio - a figure which compares well with the commercial sector.

As the National Audit Office report recognised, a certain amount of default is an inevitable feature of any loans scheme. It is wrong to assume that the existence of a small hard core of irrecoverable debt indicates poor performance on the part of the SLC.

Colin Ward

Chief executive, Student Loans Company

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