MP: We need a debate on student loans
The government has denied suggestions it is prepared to do a U-turn on student loans after Ashford MP Damian Green admitted that the debts racked up by graduates were “a huge issue”.
The anger over student debts has been cited as one of the main reasons why the Conservatives lost Canterbury at the election.
Mr Green, who is the First Secretary of State and de facto deputy leader to the PM, was asked about his message for students who backed Labour and who were angry about being saddled with debt.
He said: “I think this is clearly a huge issue. I think in the long term we’ve got to show that they are getting value for the money.
“If you want to reduce fees then either fewer people go to university or the experience would be less. Because the only other way you can get extra money to go in, if you wanted the same number of people, the same kind of teaching, would be to take it from people through their taxes … it may well be that this is a national debate that we need to have.”
An aide to Mr Green later said: “He wasn’t hinting at a U-turn at all. He was acknowledging that the youth support Jeremy Corbyn attracted at the election off the back of his fees pledge had started a national debate. But that debate has to recognise it’s either fees or higher taxes.”