The report by the financial investment company Skandia First Steps to Wealth has been covered in the press in terms of the impact on the tax payer. However, the report contains a lot more than this headline, covering the relative benefits to young people of different routes to employment post-16. This first look at the report seeks to look at all aspects and not just the impact on the perceptions of the affordability of the Government’s current financial arrangements for tuition fee loans. Nonetheless, that element of the report is clearly very significant. The report estimates that the recurrent annual liability to the Government of the current fees regime is approximately £9bn, and that this could grow depending on the level of economic growth, the number of students and the rate of inflation.
Professor Patrick McGhee is Assistant Vice Chancellor at the University of Bolton and former Vice Chancellor of the University of East London.