MP: We need a de­bate on stu­dent loans

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Anniversary Event -

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.”

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