Alan Thomson explains what the government's comprehensive spending review could offer further and higher education
1. It does not generate new money or reduce annual spending.
2. It gives ministries greater flexibility in their spending plans.
3. It does allow a distinction between recoverable and non-recoverable spending.
4. It recognises that recoverable spending, such as the outlay on repayable student loans, can be treated as an asset.
5. It would distinguish between the largely recoverable portion of student loans and that which must be written off for bad debt etc.
6. It would allow the Treasury and DFEE to plan to spend an amount equivalent to the recoverable portion of loans.
7. It could allow loans to be extended to part-time and FE students because most of the annual outlay would not be visible in annual annual spending controls.
8. It favours schemes such as student loans where the money is recovered from private incomes, rather than the public purse, with repayments assured because they are tied to the tax system.
9. It does give the Treasury control over any loan assets identified.
10. It is a commonplace accounting system used in the commercial world and by other governments, including the Dutch