Student debt sale

March 7, 1997

FINANCIAL institutions from across the United Kingdom and abroad have been flocking to cash in on the sale of the student debt before next week's deadline.

Government advisors N. M. Rothschild and Sons have sent out pre-qualification documents to more than 100 companies, as part of Government plans to privatise Pounds 1.6 billion worth of its Pounds 2 billion student loan debt. Interested parties have been asked to demonstrate their ability to take on part of the debt by March 14.

Charles Keay, a director of Rothschild, said: "We expected there to be widespread interest in this."

Key figures in the debate on student loans held a private meeting last week with Treasury officials to discuss possible future schemes for managing the debt. They included London School of Economics lecturers Iain Crawford and Nicholas Barr, who have made a submission to the Dearing inquiry on the issue.

This argues that student debt should be sold to the private sector and repayments made through national insurance contributions.

A Treasury spokesman said advice from the Office of National Statistics was that student loans collected through national insurance contributions should remain on the public sector balance sheet.

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