The main topic currently gripping the student press is the proposed cuts to education funding, which will cause student fees to rise to up to £9,000 per year.
I should be going mental at how “unfair” this all is, but I’m not. Unpopular as it may sound, I take the view the cuts are “fair”, and will help save the country from defaulting on its loans. And no, this is not because I want to look like a fascist student bully.
Would it be fair for hundreds of thousands of government workers to lose their jobs, just so we can have our degrees subsidised and go on to be better educated than the majority of the country?
As current UK students, all of these cuts seem unfair to us because something is being taken away, so naturally we react negatively towards it. We moan “9K NO WAY”, when in comparison annual tuition in the U.S. is between £15,000 and £22,000. Even with the hikes, we are extremely lucky to have lower tuition fees than American students, with an easy, fair, and structured repayment system. Not forgetting the state-funded health costs we don’t pay at university for all those clumsy and drunken accidents.
I had the pleasure of taking part in a radio debate with a number of people with different political views last week. We discussed a number of key issues, including the UK’s financial deficit.
Peter Apps, the Politics Editor of the Wessex Scene, was among them. He voiced, “The large proportion of it [the deficit] comes from the Government bailing out the banks in the 2008 financial crisis, and that’s a response to reckless free market capitalism”.
This I feel highlights a clear misunderstanding of the situation. Bailing out the banks (£71 billion) has contributed to less that 10% of the debt and only partially to the 07-08’s deficits. Furthermore, the Government is set to make a £30 billion profit from the resale of RBS and Lloyds.
At this current time, the UK needs to control spending to reduce our debt. Even more importantly, we need to be seen spending our money more wisely to encourage investment from other countries (buying our debt).
Even though under the new tuition fees plan, Government spending will be going up in the form of greater tuition and maintenance loans, from a foreign investor’s point of view, this is a more sensible, profitable, and economical way to spend borrowed money. Purely subsidising degrees and increasing their availability does not create economic growth.
Essentially, the cuts are needed because Labour couldn’t control their spending. We have almost £1 Trillion of debt and an annual spending deficit pushing close to £200 Billion. Something has to change.
What will be seen now, and will continue to be made evident in the months and years to come is that the cuts are restoring investor confidence in the UK, saving us from a potential financial meltdown like we’ve seen with Greece.
Invest in yourself as much as possible while the opportunity exists; don’t take your subsidised degree for granted and hit the books.