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National politics

Labour cocks up tuition fees

Ed Miliband has made the worst mistake of his career so far. He has set a cap on university tuition fees at exactly the same level that the Coalition was aiming for until the greedy, inefficient universities decided to grab as much as they could. I can’t believe that in one move he has vindicated the Coalition’s policy on university tuition fees and rescued the LibDems from oblivion. According to the Guardian:

Labour would cut top university fees to £6,000, says Ed Miliband

Only on Friday Graeme Archer in the Telegraph pointed out that a whole generation of middle class parents and children would be forever offside with the LibDems over their U-turn on tuition fees. Now Labour has itself u-turned and saved their bacon.

The hillarious part of the whole announcement is that the original Coalition plan envisaged that the maximum fees would be £6,000 except in exceptional circumstances. Here is the announcement that Vince Cable made in Parliament:

For the funding of universities, Lord Browne recommended-in a report that the then Labour Government endorsed, I think, in their manifesto-that there should be no cap on university fees and a specific proposal for a clawback mechanism that gave universities an incentive to introduce fees of up to a level of £15,000 a year. That was the report given to the Government. We have rejected those recommendations and proposed instead that we proceed as the statutory instrument describes. That involves the introduction of a fee cap of £6,000, rising to £9,000 in exceptional circumstances.

The reason that the £6,000 cap has been largely ignored by our liberal, leftie universities industry is that they are simply too greedy and inefficient to stop at £6,000 and on the whole think that they can charge the same as Oxford and Cambridge.

There is essentially no difference between all three main parties on tuition fees now. You can see how Miliband thought that he was showing how grown up Labour were in accepting that fees had to rise. I can’t help thinking that a little mystery in this area might have won them many 100,000s of LibDem votes. Beautiful.