Prove it or drop it

July 11, 1997

When Sir Tim Lankester (Letters, June ) states that moving administration of the loan scheme to the private sector would provide "possibilities of achieving improved efficiencies in operating the loans scheme which would help to lower the longer-term costs", he is restating a view that has been widely broadcast. However, this view fails to differentiate between the characteristics of the scheme and the effectiveness of its administration.

The attempt to implement "twin track" (to introduce private-sector lenders alongside the Student Loans Company) failed because the private sector proposals were not considered value for money.

If this assessment is not to be seen as a negative view of any state-operated function which is adopted purely "on principle" , it should be demonstrated or dropped from the debate.

Colin Ward

Student Loans Company

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