Privatisation of student loan book to be scrapped

It was unclear last night whether the rest of the Cabinet had been made aware of the decision on student loans

The £12 billion privatisation of the student loan book in England and Wales is to be scrapped, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.

Mr Cable, who can take the final decision as the Secretary of State responsible for higher education, revealed the planned sell-off had been scrapped at a meeting of the Social Liberal Forum, a Lib Dem activists group.

Earlier this month, he reportedly vetoed the privatisation of the Land Registry following a series of rows between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in the Cabinet.

It was unclear last night whether the rest of the Cabinet had been made aware of the decision on student loans.

“The government was considering the sale of student loans on the basis that it would reduce government debt. Recent evidence suggests this will no longer be the case,” he told the forum, according to The Guardian.

“Given there is no longer any public benefit, Nick Clegg and I have agreed not to proceed with the sale.”

Chancellor George Osborne announced the sell-off in December, saying “the new loans will be financed by selling the student loan book” in his belated Autumn Statement.

The move was designed to help the Government remove the cap on student numbers, so 60,000 extra young people every year could attend university from 2015. It was unclear what effect Mr Cable’s announcement would have on this plan.

Wendy Piatt, the head of the Russell Group of leading universities, said: “If the government no longer intends to use the sale of the student loan book to fund the uncapping of student numbers in England, then we would urge them to abandon this idea.

“We would be extremely concerned if the substantial funds required to pay for additional students were taken from the already very stretched budget for research and higher education. It would be very worrying if this policy leads to less funding per student.”

Toni Pearce, of the National Union of Students, called for Mr Cable “to make this decision official immediately”.

She added he should also “recognise that we will only achieve a sustainable HE [higher education] funding system if we abandon the discredited regime of sky-high fees and debts altogether”.

A spokesman for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “No final decision has been made on any timing of the sale of the student loans book.”

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Science Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - South Es...

Physics Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

KS1 Teacher

£21500 - £31500 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work...

Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style