Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dropping the Debt Monster

As I said yesterday I am delighted that the new SNP Executive has abolished tuition fees for Scottish students in Scottish universities (and none of your nonsense about endowments - it was a tuition fee). As someone who would never have gone to university without my fees being paid the thought of University becoming some sort of exclusive preserve for those who could afford it horrified me.

There aren't many things that government/taxpayers should provide for the public but education is one of those things. A country needs teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc etc and it should pay for their education. That's not to say that unlimited years should be covered with a whole load of perpetual students being funded forever though and I'm also not so convinced by the need for grants though, there is only so much money in the public purse and life isn't perfect.

When I worked for the Conservative Party pre-2005 I was delighted that the policy was to abolish student fees and in the constituency I worked in we worked quite a lot on this policy because we knew it was the right thing to do. I was horribly disappointed when David Cameron reversed this policy - it was just one more example of a very rich man assuming that the rest of the population could afford the lifestyle he can.

This was a good statement yesterday and the £15/£20 million cost is one well worth paying - in fact at approximately £3.63 per person it's a downright bloody bargain.

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