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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 September 2021

Sunak's student special

A cruel cut to the loan payback threshold

Socialist Students has always opposed tuition fees and supported free education

Socialist Students has always opposed tuition fees and supported free education   (Click to enlarge)

Adam Harmsworth, Coventry Socialist Party

In another determined effort to take money off the working class to pay for the pandemic, the government is set to slash the threshold at which students pay back their loans. No details have been revealed yet, but in 2019 the Augar review demanded a threshold of 23,000. Lowering the threshold from the current 27,295 will hit the pockets of tens of thousands of graduates every year, already facing a national insurance hike when they go into work. Bear in mind a 23k salary is still below 12 an hour working full time.

The Tories want to put this change across as an act of 'fairness', because they say taxpayers are paying for higher education rather than graduates. Let's be clear, this is an excuse for getting an estimated 2 billion out of graduates. If it were about fairness, the Tories might look at the Sunday Times Rich List. Taking that 2 billion off the richest man - Sir Leonard Blavatnik- would still leave him with a 5.2 billion gain this year!

The second Tory excuse is that this is part of the 'levelling up' agenda, because it will push more young people into technical and vocational training. To quote the Financial Times: "The government believes too many students are racking up debts studying 'soft' three-year university courses in arts and social sciences".

That's not levelling up. With wealthy graduates paying their loans up-front, this move will mainly push lower-income working-class youth away from university. Tory ideology comes through clearly: youth from wealthier backgrounds can study what they like, but working-class youth should study only if it's profitable for capitalism.

What also comes through clearly is that the tuition fees model is an absolute failure. The fees system, started by Blair and expanded by the Con-Dem coalition, tried to get more money out of young workers, who were falsely sold the idea of university leading to a good well-paying career.

Many of Britain's 14 million graduates are in entry-level, low-paying jobs, and the bosses aren't prepared to change that. The fight for free education and for real graduate careers must come from the student and wider workers' movement. The trade unions should oppose this threshold change and stand with students in reinforcing that important demand for free university education.

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In The Socialist 29 September 2021:


What we think

Starmer consolidates post-Corbyn Blairite transformation of Labour


International

German election: A change of capitalist government, but disaster for Die Linke


People's budgets

Save our services


News

End profit-fuelled crisis

NHS workers reject 3% pay insult

Driver shortages - a view from the inside

News in brief


Black history month

Black history month and its relevance today


Climate change

CWI livestream rally report


Workplace news

NEU deputy general secretary election

Corby and Burton Latimer Weetabix engineers strike

Fightback to save Birmingham GKN jobs!

Flexibility to suit workers not the bosses

College workers walk out in pay dispute


Campaigns

London tenants v greedy contractors

Bromsgrove protest for NHS fair pay

Sabina Nessa vigil: End violence against women


Youth and Students

Join the fight for our future

Sunak's student special

More market chaos: York students given digs in Hull

Lots of sign-ups for Socialist Students at freshers

Youth climate protests are back


 

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Related links:

Student:

triangleYouth Fight for Jobs - why we're marching on 9 October

triangleNigeria: Comrade Omomeewa, student leader and socialist campaigner, killed by armed assailants

triangleStudents and unions must resist misnamed 'free speech' bill

triangleAction marks the way for a national student movement for free education

University:

triangleUniversity bosses' pay piles up while workers are forced to strike

triangleUniversity workers vote for action in two disputes

triangleFighting sexism and harassment, and for a safe night out

triangleUniversity workers ballot for strike action

Youth:

triangleYouth fight for well-paid green jobs and socialist change

triangleFight for a 15-an-hour minimum wage and an end to youth rates

triangleYouth climate protests

Students:

triangleSupport uni workers' walk-out on pay and pensions

triangleEnd sexism and violence against women

Education:

triangleSchool staff need a pay rise

Fees:

triangleLots of sign-ups at freshers

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