27 Feb 2015

Labour’s £400 maintenance grant sweetener

So Labour’s throwing in a maintenance grant sweetener with the tuition fees policy. Students will get an extra £400 a year for their maintenance grant. The move will come into effect in September 2016.

It helps to take the bill for these higher education changes up to £3bn. Only £2.7bn of that is coming from raids on pension relief.

The universities are being promised that £3bn a year to make up the lost revenue from tuition fees being cut to £6k. But that’s in effect a hypothecated tax and the Treasury doesn’t really believe in those. Their track record of staying pure and untouched is pretty bad.

Ed Miliband, the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, speaks at Haverstock school in north London

Labour, though, will be hoping that after the tortuous process of making Ed Miliband’s tuition fees pledge a policy reality, they are on to an election-winning offer that will help them in key seats.

The student vote, if it’s registered, might help them in key seats. The ex-Lib Dem diaspora that was horrified by the tuition fees “betrayal” might be firmed up. The middle classes might feel they’re being made an offer and not being forsaken by Ed Miliband’s Labour party. The noise about pension raids might be dismissed as rich folks’ special pleading.

We shall see.

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