Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Day the Uni's Died

I have spent the day watching Twitter on #dayx3, and watching BBC TV news 24 propaganda.

Parliament has spoken, and the Coalition was its majority drop from 84 to 21. But the vote means that from 2012 most students will leave university with a debt of up to and over £36,000.

Note that the MPs who were graduates will have left university with a debt of ~£0. Zero. Morally, those who voted in favour should write the universities a cheque for £30,000. "Morally". Don't hold your breath.

What are the unintended consequences of Parliament's decision? Here are a few possibilities. This is not my field, and the experts should have covered these points. Or not, as the case may be.
  1. A whole generation of students have been "blooded" in demonstrating and many will have animosity towards police that was not there previously. Big Society, anyone?
  2. Some who could have gone to University will not do so. Student numbers will fall, so student fees will fall, and Uni incomes will fall.
  3. Some who leave with a debt of £30k will go abroad. >Brain Drain.
  4. Some will curb their ambition or their tax returns to make sure that they do not cross the £21k threshold where they start paying tax.
  5. Some will be unable to afford a mortgage as well as their student debt. This will have an effect on the housing market, which, reasonably or not, is an important component of the UK's economy.
So, well done, George Osborne and Nick Clegg. Five unintended consequences.
Six, counting the fact that the whole nation has been glued to TV/Twitter all day.


Phil said...

I think you're being optimistic.

For "some", write "many".

As for some (ahem, many) not being able to afford a mortgage, very few can afford one already. This is another nail in the coffin of "home ownership for all".

Anonymous said...

Here is Green PPC Vaughan Brean's take on matters:
The real problem is that most people in the UK have a level of consumption (energy, food etc) that is way way higher than is justified economically or environmentally, "fighting the cuts" is not really the issue, most people just dont get the fact that our lifestyles are unsustainable on so many levels. Material living standards must inevitably fall in any case as we are living way beyond our means (this does not necessarily mean Quality of life needs to fall though)trying to preserve the status quo is pointless. The higher education fees thing is a complex issue, but I have a son that is at University at the moment and living at home, he attends about 3 half days per week (if that)it costs alot of money to run a university that inefficiently and somebody has to pay the bill for a 4 year course that could be covered in 2 (or maybe less), currently that is largely the taxpayer, much higher education is a gravy train for the Universities and lecturers I believe that we need a massive shakeup in the way that higher education is delivered subsidising mediocrity is not the answer, and much higher education is just that. The Green Party should be trying to encourage people to question their wasteful overconsumption, not justifying the idea that our current lifestyles are acceptable or sustainable.


We've gone from 150,000 ish university students to 410,000 ish in ten years - no education is free and when the student's call for that they mean free to them which essentially means that we who didn't have the opportunity or intellegence to go to university have to pick up the tab - good ruling by the coalition I say - you want the education - you pay for it.

DocRichard said...

Thanks all. I am aware that there is a wider debate to be had, covering all the points made here and more. I hope to come back on this with a main blog post, but at the moment I am preoccupied with the kettling phenomenon and how to deal with it, so I hope you will bear with me.

DocRichard said...

Lo: I have blogged:

Hope it helps.

DocRichard said...

Hi Vaughan Brean

Thanks for reminding us of the wider Green context of the economic difficulties we face. We need to keep in mind our reaction to the immediate threat, as well as the ongoing wider ecological threat.

Our starting point should be that unemployment causes poverty and much harm to the health of individuals and of society. However, there is no room for unemployment in a green economy, because there is so much work to be done in healing environment and society.

We could introduce Citizen's Income through a Green Wage Subsidy, which would at the same time green the economy.