Letter: Complex route to graduate tax

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Complex route to

Sir: Yvette Cooper's analysis of the issue of funding of higher education ("Why students should pay fair", 22 May) assesses the key points well, with one exception.

There is an implicit assumption in the argument for a progressive tax as a percentage of graduate earnings: that for such a tax to be "fair" the differential earnings must be a direct result of the "education privilege". Clearly, other factors have an effect, for example hard work, ability, fortunate opportunity. Higher earners are already paying tax on differential earnings gained for these reasons.

The observation that it is unfair that a teacher and a merchant banker would pay the same contribution to their education is only true if the incremental opportunity they have each gained is different. Clearly this could not be the case for individuals on the same course at the same university. However, the logic of this argument would lead one to the extremely complex and subjective route of "pricing" courses and universities.

MARK HIGGINBOTTOM

London SW4

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