Letter: Education reform

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The Independent Online
Education reform

Sir: I was interested in the comments of Andrew Belsey (Letters, 24 May), suggesting that Labour's proposed reform of higher education maintenance, with a 20 year repayment system, ignored older graduates.

Our proposals specifically spelt out that repayment was income contingent. If retirement income fell below the repayment threshold, it followed that an older person would not have to continue paying into their seventies.

The present system offers no loans beyond the age of fifty. In order to assist older students, we are also asking the Dearing Committee to examine whether individual learning accounts could be used to save for university maintenance costs as well as for training and learning programmes.

DAVID BLUNKETT MP

(Sheffield Brightside, Lab)

House of Commons

London SW1

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