A Labour government 'would cut tuition fees by at least £3,000 a year'

Miliband set to pledge cut to controversial £9,000 maximum fee

Ed Miliband is expected to announce that a Labour government would cut university tuition fees by at least £3,000 a year, it was claimed last night.

The cut would see the £9,000 maximum fee reduced to £6,000 - and Mr Miliband may go even further.

He is said to be studying a radical plan for reform of tuition fees being proposed by John Denham, the former Universities Secretary, which would reduce tuition fees to a £4,000 maximum.

Mr Miliband is also alleged to be thinking of using any cut in what students have to pay as the first step towards an eventual scrapping of the whole tuition fees system and its replacement by a tax on graduates.

Some opponents of tuition fees see a graduate tax as a fair way of preventing students from being saddled with large debts.

The expected pledge to cut tuition fees would form part of Mr Miliband’s strategy of focusing on the cost of living, while trying to counter Conservative attempts to win middle class votes on issues like pension reform and inheritance tax, according to Sunday Times.

His advisors are allegedly urging him to make a final decision university fees in time to announce the new policy at this autumn’s party conference.

The £6,000 maximum fee was said to have been enthusiastically welcomed in focus groups, but  Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, would need to find at least £1.7bn a year to ensure that universities do not lose money through a fees cut.

John Denham’s alternative plan would grant each student a voucher-style “entitlement” of £15,000 that they could take to any university. This would be equivalent to £5,000 a year for a typical three-year degree. Universities could charge fees on top of this if the cost of teaching their course was higher than the £15,000.

Mr Denham, who will present his plan in parliament on Tuesday, does not believe these fees would need to be more than £4,000 a year, meaning students would graduate with far lower debts.

He is expected to argue that the plans would not cost the taxpayer extra, because they would lead to fewer debt write-offs. Official estimates released earlier this month that 45% of student loans will have to be written off.

The Sunday Times also reports that the Conservatives are considering their own reforms of the university fees system.

Paul Kirby, Cameron’s former policy chief, is thought to be investigating whether some lower-ranked universities should be stripped of their right to charge tuition fees if excessive numbers of students fail to complete courses or to find graduate-level jobs.

The Conservatives could allow elite universities to increase fees if they meet strict conditions on ensuring access for students from poor families. The Treasury is also said to be considering a minimum qualification for students to go to university to reduce numbers and stem the costs.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

MBDA UK Ltd: HR Advisor - Recruitment and Graduate Programme

Competitive Salary & Benefits: MBDA UK Ltd:    What’s the opportunity? We...

MBDA UK Ltd: Software Graduate

Competitive Salary & Benefits: MBDA UK Ltd:   Role Title: Softwa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support - Surrey - £28,000

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support Helpdesk / Devel...

Guru Careers: Graduate Database Administrator / Junior DBA

£20 - 25k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Database Administrator / Junior DBA is nee...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks