Mr Blunkett will give a commitment that the loans will cover student maintenance, but not tuition fees, as called for by the vice-chancellors. He will commit Labour to spending the additional funds on increasing the proportion going on to college or university from 30 per cent to 40 per cent by the turn of the century.
Mr Blunkett will stress that hard choices will have to be taken to increase the numbers going into higher education, but many of the controversial details will be handed to a review under Sir Ron Dearing. These will include the size of the loans, and the rate at which they should be repaid.
The Dearing review will also consider whether smart cards should be used for individual learning accounts, and proposals that they should be administered by a "learning bank" proposed in the Commission on Social Justice report. Private money could be encouraged by Labour to finance the loans, and invest in capital schemes in universities. Colin BrownReuse content