Lib Dems propose FE financial help in ‘alternative Budget’

8 Nov 17

The government should introduce measures to redistribute revenue in favour of the young who “have been left behind for too long”, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has said today.

Outlining the party’s ‘alternative Budget’, in a speech in London today, Cable said the “spiralling” house prices, diminished job security, pension availability as well as the cost of higher education has caused an issue of “intergenerational equity” and said young people should have access to a new learning account.

He proposed creating an endowment or learning account for young people, which they would gain access to on their sixteenth or eighteenth birthday and could use to pay for further and higher education, re-skilling and adult learning – when or as they choose.

The party leader said in London: “By common consent, young people have been left behind for too long.

“There now has to be some form of redistribution between generations to restore the implicit contract in every society between young and old.”

Cable also said the Liberal Democrats priorities are to free-up capital investment in homes and infrastructure, to revive the NHS and “giving a leg up” to young people as they begin their working lives. 

He said: “To do all this, we need a government which prioritises economic competence over political dogma.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond will present the autumn budget on 22 November.

The Conservatives also addressed the young voters last month at the Tory conference with a policy pitch aimed at students, first-time buyers and private renters. 

Prime minister Theresa May announced that changes to the student finance system would mean graduates would not have to start repaying loans until they started earning £25,000 a year – up from the current level of £21,000.

Although this would save graduates significant amounts of money, the cost to the taxpayer would increase by around 40% according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

 The Centre for Policy Studies said tuition fees should be cut and interest rates lowered, rather than raising the repayment threshold to make education more affordable and ensure the government recoups more money.

During the speech, Cable also said changes should be made to the tax system, including corporate tax and tax avoidance.

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