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Student loan changes

July 22, 2016

Today I have written to the Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP about retrospective changes to student loan repayments. The Government are planning to freeze the level at which graduates repay their student loans, after promising that the threshold would rise with inflation.

 

Retrospectively moving the goal posts in this way is a scandal. It is totally unfair and will hit the poorest hardest.

 

Many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are put off applying to university because of the extremely high costs associated with higher education. Changing the system and increasing these costs retrospectively will only serve to further put off the poorest potential students, particularly those students who would be the first in their family to go to university.

 

I have copied the letter below:

 

Dear Jo,

 

A number of my constituents have written to me about student loan repayments and I am extremely concerned about your plans to retrospectively move the goalposts when it comes to graduates repaying their loans. In a commercial transaction such a change of terms would not be allowed under the rule of law, so frankly I do not see why the Government are not themselves adhering to the standard they impose on others.

 

Last year, the Higher Education Statistics Agency found that a third of graduates were working in low-skilled jobs six months after graduation, whilst over 16,000 graduates were unemployed. This change will not hit those graduates working in well-paid roles, but those already struggling with soaring rents, stagnant wages and a severe housing crisis. Those who earn the least will be hit the hardest, and that strikes me as wholly unfair.

 

Many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are put off applying to university because of the extremely high costs associated with higher education.  Changing the system and increasing these costs retrospectively will only serve to further put off the poorest potential students, particularly those students who would be the first in their family to go to university.

 

The Government has set itself a target to double the proportion of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds entering our universities by 2020, but in the ten years up to 2015 the proportion of Russell Group students from poor backgrounds only increased by 1%. We have a long way to go, and this change to student loan repayments would unfortunately be a step in the wrong direction.

 

I urge you to think again and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the issue with you further.

 

Yours sincerely,


Rt Hon David Lammy 

Member of Parliament for Tottenham

 

 

 

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David Lammy

From Tottenham. For Tottenham.