Friday 31 December 2010 3.38pm
Just out of interest, how was your education paid for?
You asked for some alternative ideas. Here's some:
a) Use the same system under which most of the cabinet and, I presume, Simon Hughes
went to university. I was at Oxford with lots of them and it seemed a perfectly good system. Withdrawing it, having benefited from it strikes me as immoral.
b) Possibly restrict access to universities more. Maybe have cheaper, vocational universities, without a research requirement. Perhaps we could call them polytechnics.
c) Yes - continue to pay for it out of general taxation, with everyone benefiting, in the same way that I, although currently fit and childless, contribute to the bus driver's children's education, his or her mum's medical care and, probably, his or her housing benefit.
Your anecdotal bus driver's children can benefit from it by being able to go to university without running up massive debts. And I will benefit from their contribution to society when they take their place in the workforce. It's what being in a society is about.
By virtue of the grants given to me to enable me to go to university, I earn a lot more than most of the people I went to comprehensive school with and, consequently, pay a lot more in tax.
d) Raise inheritance tax rates, lower thresholds and close the loopholes that enable the wealthy to avoid it. Use the money raised to invest in the future of our society. While we're at it, we might want to introduce capital gains tax on the principal residence to close more loopholes, dampen future upward volatility in the housing market, and make it more worthwhile to invest in properly productive assets rather than bricks and mortar.
You're welcome. What do you reckon?
ps I'm not normally lost for words, but Simon Hughes
' collaboration with the Tory cuts almost leaves me so.