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To vote is to choose

Nick Robinson | 12:33 UK time, Thursday, 9 December 2010

The time for talking, the time for listening, the time for agonising will soon be over. The time for voting is almost upon us.

People often under-estimate the significance of the choice individual MPs face when they decide whether to vote with or against their party leadership. It defines which tribe they're in - loyalist or rebel. Once in a tribe it can be hard to escape.

Rebels come to enjoy the praise they get from voters, the attention they get from the media and the wooing by their party's leadership.

All that leads loyalists to resent and rather envy rebels. In return for their support they expect that they will be rewarded and the rebels will be punished.

How many Liberal Democrats and how many Conservatives join each tribe will shape the future of their parties, their leaders and the coalition - even if, as all sides expect, the motion to raise tuition fees is carried.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    It may also decide the outcome of the next election - if the Lib Dems cause a rebellion over tuition fees, they may well forfeit the next election. Or they may not.

  • Comment number 2.

    Watching BBC Parliament; how can Clegg & Cameron walk out on the dabate??

  • Comment number 3.

    Interesting about the tribal behaviour. Just shows how farcical the political party system is. Surely the politicians should be voted in the represent the voters not the party? I'm aware that the parties need to stick together sometimes to make sure things get done, but for the rest of it they should vote how they feel not how they are told.

    What punishment do the rebels get?

  • Comment number 4.

    John denhan.
    Playing a blinder

  • Comment number 5.

    Not a great insight Nick - the Lib Dems are screwed now whatever they do - the electorate will never forgive them now or for a long time - especially generations of young people who have been radicalised over an issue that was so easy to avoid! Clegg definitely suffered from arrogance or complacency on this one!

  • Comment number 6.

    Puts a new spin on Cleggmania too!

  • Comment number 7.

    Proposed fees increase affect hard working poor familey and midile income familey.The LibDems says any thing to get vote at last election,that they were out of power over 50 years.At next election people will punish them,its their con.They are not bother about people hardship they only want ministerial post and money for them.I would never trust them.They are another version of concervative.

  • Comment number 8.

    Isn't it too soon to tell? I think judgement by results will be the decider, and that's some way off. I'm afraid anything else is media hype.
    Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 9.

    Not many people realise that if you have a student loan, and earn currently more than £15K, rising to £21K under the new proposals, you will have a marginal rate of 40% deducted from the top portion of your income. That is made up by 20% income tax, 11% national insurance contibutions and 9% student loan repayments.

    David Cameron earns £142K, and has a marginal rate of 41%. That is just 1p in the pound more. On an income that is £121K higher. We need a more progressive taxation system in this country, not less as these increase in fees will lead to.

    The way the wealth disparity is growing in this country is disgusting, and people like our PM want to make it harder to climb the ladder after them, increasing the class divide. It sickens me.

  • Comment number 10.

    EU issues waiting in the wings to fracture the coalition if it is not already fractured by the fees issue. However for the Lib Dems to get terminal we need a few more disastrous by-elections. They have enjoyed the luxury of performance without the responsibility for years. Clegg seems to be Cameron's whipping boy for most of the bad news of this government.

  • Comment number 11.

    Whilst the point Nick makes about "the time for..." rings partially true, nobody in the coallition has been listening and now they are voting. Peter White is right as well; but the Lib Dems have already lost the next election. What they might well have done is to mobilise young peoples' votes in a way no other government has ever managed.

  • Comment number 12.

    Personally I think it is refreshing to see politicians at least getting some flack for not living up to pre-election promises. It might not make much practical difference against the tories ideologically driven imperatives, but at least it is good to see some trouble being caused.

    All the parties routinely make dishonest pledges: just for once a small number of them are catching some serious stick for it.

  • Comment number 13.

    Under the new proposals a student doing a three year course and taking out a full tuition fee loan and a full maintenance loan (outside London) each year will finish with a debt of just over £40,000. They will be borrowing this money from the Student Loan Company which gets its money from – the government. So the coalition are going to have to fund these loans every year as it will take many years to recoup the money from students entering into the new system. How can they claim they don’t have the money to invest in higher education?

  • Comment number 14.

    Crikey Robbo that almost sounds like a threat!!!

    Am I being too cynical to ask what the LibDems have demanded if they get through this issue. Better something big (enormous even) if they are going to survivve without splitting the party.

    Wouldn't be good to know what promises are being made.

  • Comment number 15.

    What ever the result of the vote, the damage is done. We all thought the Lib-Dems offered us a new way in politics, but now we know they are as bad as the rest of them. Nick Clegg has blown it. He made a promise to get elected and then broke his promise. Who do I vote for when this government is ousted, I don't see any party worth voting for. I just hope this government ends soon and someone restores sanity so youngsters aren't too scared of debt to get the education they and this country needs.

  • Comment number 16.

    Labour started tuition fees,now they are mysteriously against them when they are out of office and the country has gone into economic meltdown... Lib Dems wanted tuition fees abolished but now they are in office they are forced to treble the fees as part of a coalition agreement. Tories,I presume,quite like tuition fees. Why do I get the impression it doesn't matter who you vote for...you still get tuition fees! Maybe only students are naive enough to still believe what politicians tell them,I dunno. The rest of us are somewhat more cynical.

  • Comment number 17.

    Daft policy. Should be opposed vigorously. Higher education should be paid for from general taxation and entry restricted to those with academic merit.

    And how much I agree with the person who said that if those who benefit should pay then a lot of people, including MPs, should be paying for all their perks and pensions. Any thoughts Nick Clegg?

  • Comment number 18.

    3. At 1:08pm on 09 Dec 2010, jizzlingtons wrote:
    "Interesting about the tribal behaviour. Just shows how farcical the political party system is. Surely the politicians should be voted in the represent the voters not the party? I'm aware that the parties need to stick together sometimes to make sure things get done, but for the rest of it they should vote how they feel not how they are told.

    What punishment do the rebels get?"

    MPs are mostly expected to toe the party line and vote as they are told. Only in certain circumstances is a free vote allowed. Punishments depend on whether at one-line, two-line, or three-line whip is applied. A rebel can be kicked out of the party if a three-line whip is disobeyed.

  • Comment number 19.

    One thing we have learned through this entire process is that the BBC journalists seem to be completely unable to understand the idea of coalition and consensus based politics.

    It has saddened me that so much media time bas been spent on the politics and so little on the actual issue.

    The issue is incredibly complicated - although I err on the side of the government, I also see much merit in some of the argument against.

    Less time spent by journalists on camera trying to guess how one particular person will vote and sounding outraged that someone might actually be prepared to do that ultimate sin of "compromising" and perhaps this issue would be addressed in a more realistic way.

  • Comment number 20.

    I hope the Liberal Democrats realize they will be completely decimated at all future local and general elections to come. They better enjoy the power whilst they have it.....this marks the beginning of the end of 3 party politics, and the re-emergence of Labour. Shame on you Lib Dems !!

  • Comment number 21.

    Yes I'm sure the vast majority of Lib Dem MPs who don't have ministerial jobs petitioned the leadership to be able to vote against the measure. The party then worked out how many of these could be allowed to do so without triggering a commons defeat. The unlucky ones (those who've been coerced into abstaining) will have needed some juicy carrot to keep them sweet; no doubt we'll find out more in due course. Bottom line - and rather more important than the Lib Dems' local difficulties - is a risk that poorer students will be priced out of our best universities. This is not what the likes of Simon Hughes came into politics for. What on earth are you playing at, likes of Simon Hughes?

  • Comment number 22.

    Just as long as all MPs think before they vote, making a personal choice based on the evidence and arguments that have been presented, and with due regard to what the voters in their constituency have said that they want.

    They need to put the country first, themselves and party a long way behind rather than the other way about which has been all too common of late. Above all they need to remember that they not only work for us, they also represent us - hence they are obliged to ensure that what they vote and say is in accord with our wishes, not with those of party leaders.

  • Comment number 23.

    Let's remember the vote is about fees in England. Different rules apply - needless to say, more generously (but at English expense)- in Scotland and Wales.Let us hope MPs from Scottish and Welsh constituencies will abstain from a vote that does not impact their own constituents, and for which they have no democratic mandate.

  • Comment number 24.

    9 adthe nad

    You may want to rethink your maths, as a student would pay 9% of the difference over £21k not at a flat rate after personal allowances. i.e. they would pay £9 for every £100 they earn over £21k. e.g earn £22k and pay £90, would need to be a bigger percentage to get to 40%.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick Robinson summary regarding 'rebel voters' is totally spot on. Simon Hughes can't believe how popular he has become for TV interviews over the past 24 hours, what a sad indidivual! Narcissism is only one more reason not to return you into Parliament I'm afraid Simon, so enjoy.

  • Comment number 26.

    The point is that it was a major part of a target attempt to win over a section of the voting public. The vast majority of Polititians do not keep their promises, that is accepted but nothing quite so outrageous as this. The Liberal Democrats need to think about what they do this evening very seriously as if they don't do the right thing it will take them as long again to get the power it took them so long to get now. In terms of their political ambition, you can only hope their thirty peices of silver were worth it.

  • Comment number 27.

    I think many may be overestimating the effect this will have. Whilst this issue has mobilised students I would say that many tax payers, myself included feel the proposals are fair and it is categorically not fair to expect average or low paid taxpayers to pay for university education. I would rather they sort out the education from 5-18 so we have school leavers who can read and write at least. This is more important. A university education is not a right, it is a privilege and personal choice as to how you attain it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Most appear to belong to the bankers tribe and sort out on other matters of less importance. Each tribe is taking positions on at what level should the middle class continue to support the wealthy. Apparently none have a solution for the economic woes past giving the banks more money. The fact that they were complicit in causing the economic crisis gets lost in the discussions. A return to days of old when the government felt no obligation to look out for anything other than banking and business. the citizen was simply a pocket to take from to support the interest and wealth of others.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think its a fair point made by tcains earlier on that i just can't see how clegg for sure and possibly cameron expect to get elected at the next general election, they are making themselves deeply unpopular with the next generation of voters...and even the current generation! no doubt come the next election they will be out smooth talking their way into the ballot box, only to break every promise they made in their campaign, i'm sick of lying polictions, has everybody forgotten the expenses scandal??

  • Comment number 30.

    9 - "David Cameron earns £142K, and has a marginal rate of 41%. That is just 1p in the pound more. On an income that is £121K higher. We need a more progressive taxation system in this country, not less as these increase in fees will lead to.

    The way the wealth disparity is growing in this country is disgusting, and people like our PM want to make it harder to climb the ladder after them, increasing the class divide. It sickens me."

    Just as well Cameron doesn't earn £110,000 as then he'd have a marginal rate of 61%.

    And if Cameron earns another £8k in investment or other income he's be paying at a marginal rate of 51% and soon 52%. That's plenty and if you try and get more, you'll end up getting less as economies the world over have come to realise. It's only the un-knowing and willfully stupid who argue that higher tax rates would achieve anything.

  • Comment number 31.

    14 - "Am I being too cynical to ask what the LibDems have demanded if they get through this issue. Better something big (enormous even) if they are going to survivve without splitting the party."

    Perhaps it was the increase in tax personal allowances. The biggest single increase in those in all the time I've worked in tax. AND a decrease in the amount at which the 40% tax rate kicks in. This means that basi rate tax payers and ONLY basic rate tax payers will benefit.

    Perhaps that could be shelved to pay for Uni places? You know, "hi, low paid worker, we're putting your taxes up so that people can get degrees and then jobs that earn more than you". Sound good?

  • Comment number 32.

    Those who claim that the Lib-Dems are breaking their manifesto promises seem to forget that the Lib-Dems didn't win the election. The manifesto set out what a "Liberal Democrat government" would do.

    For anyone who is too thick to realise it, I'd just like to point out that the government we have is NOT a "Liberal Democrat government" but a Conservative-LibDem coalition, in which the LibDems are the junior party.

    I've actually been impressed by the LibDems' maturity on this issue. I think that very few people would be opposed to providing everyone with free education. The problem is that someone has to pay for it. The LibDems obviously believed that the money could be found but subsequently discovered, when they joined the Coalition government, that the nation's finances are in a far worse state than they expected. It would be have been utterly irresponsible for them to have continued to pursue that policy given the circumstances.

    Having the courage to stand up and say "Look, we made a mistake. Our 'fi nancially responsible plan to phase fees out' turned out to have been based on an optimistic view of the nation's financial position. It turns out that our plan is not practical so we are doing something different." speaks volumes to me about their suitability and worth as a Coalition partner.

    Well done Clegg, well done Cable. Stand your ground and ignore the loony lefties.

  • Comment number 33.

    Before and after the general election we all knew that some tough choices would have to be made....i said 'tough' choices! We all act like these guys want to do this but the bottom line is this affects the overall thoughts of a young generation who have been brought up to think that a University education is a right. We have students on the street who hold signs like "End war not Welfare" and "Banker Wan*er".

    Whilst it is very painful to rise tuition fees, do the people really think the government can continue to prop up socialist programs and extend out all these services like Education, Welfare, Mass Transit and Healthcare??? We have some good systems but we can't keep taking more and more tax money, unwisely spend it and go back for more. If the middle class is to win in this battle we need growth in the private sector and new jobs...this can only happen if we stop thinking that we should have the government take care of everything for us from birth to death...If an animal goes into the jungle and has no skills to survive he is the lunch...period!

    We need to bring back responsibility, accountability and work ethic to this nation, instead we have 40,000 students marching with socialist signs demanding a free education...well times are changing so get back to campus get a waiting, bar or grocery job and help to pay for it!!!

    If we don't change mentality here we will go bankrupt, default and then we'll see how your cradle to grave society is a pipe dream.

    I agree that these are tough times but we put ourselves here...you get what you vote for!

  • Comment number 34.

    It seems forgotten that the LibDems actually promised to seek the eventual abolition of university fees rather than just oppose any increase. In the event Clegg et al are going along with a tripling of fees. So it's a double lie. They make a huge mistake. England will be de-skilled by this, the middle class will be hurt and move political allegiance elsewhere. The big bonus though, is that Cleggs party will be forever assigned to the dustbin of history and for that mercy we can all be truly grateful.

  • Comment number 35.

    21 - "Bottom line - ... - is a risk that poorer students will be priced out of our best universities."

    Twaddle. Complete and utter garbage.

    A student who gets a high paid job will be able to afford to repay the loan. A student who gets a low paid job won't have to repay the loan.

    The only chance that students will be put off going to Uni is if they listen to the sort of nonsense that you peddle.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ Dominic

    Thanks for that. Any idea what punishments are used up until party expulsion?

    I personally find the parliamentary system more disgusting the more I learn about it.

  • Comment number 37.

    The more I see what is happening in Central London, and around the country today, and seeing Nick Clegg looking (quite frankly) smug this morning, makes me despair. Thank goodness, students are finally becoming politically active. The tories and Lib Dems have no mandate for this shameful policy, and it is simply outrageous that Lib Dems will join the Tories in support of this. Unbelevievable.

  • Comment number 38.

    "24. At 2:04pm on 09 Dec 2010, Indy2010 wrote:
    9 adthe nad

    You may want to rethink your maths, as a student would pay 9% of the difference over £21k not at a flat rate after personal allowances. i.e. they would pay £9 for every £100 they earn over £21k. e.g earn £22k and pay £90, would need to be a bigger percentage to get to 40%."

    He's talking about MARGINAL rates, not absolute rates so his 40% figure is correct. The marginal rate is the tax/NI deducted from the last/top £1 you earn.

    Marginal rates certainly can be demotivating. The highest marginal rate in the UK will from next April be 62%. You might wonder what the point of working hard and only keeping 38% of your efforts is. And you'd be right. Very demotivating. Looking forward to it being scrapped.

  • Comment number 39.

    I have been disgusted by the duplicity of Nick Clegg and Vince Cable, and most of the Lib Dem MPs. They should all honour their pre-election pledges and vote against the blatantly unjust rise in tuition fees.

    In this marginal West Country constituency (currently held by the Lib Dems) I voted for the Lib Dems at the previous four or five general elections. Indeed, at the last election I drove around with a poster in my car stating "I Agree with Nick"! Never again - next time it will be a poster exclaiming "I Detest Nick".

  • Comment number 40.

    Very discourteous behaviour from Clegg and Cameron by walking out as soon as Denham stands.

    Why is this being pushed through so quickly? What is the rush? It's quite obviously ill thought out, and something of such significance should have more time devoted to it.

    Good luck to those voting against, good luck to the (non-violent) student protesters and good luck to us all if the Coalition plans to continue hurrying through vital policy decisions.

  • Comment number 41.

    If it is the Government's intention to cut University budgets by 80%, can anyone tell me why all those who have enjoyed a University education in the past, for the most part 'free', could not pay one half penny in the pound tax if they are paying tax at the higher rate rather than lumber their children with a debt?.

  • Comment number 42.

    Why stop at degrees? If it's so obvious (it isn't) that 50% plus are degree material, why not bring in PhD's and Professorships for a further semi-automatic mickey mouse qualification?
    There used to be a thing called "the family" which stretched back in time. If the family was successful and could afford to set up Trust Funds then Good Luck to them I say. I speak as somebody who scarcely had a family.

  • Comment number 43.

    I have seen nothing commenting on the 'balance of power' position in which the LibDems reside where they would be lambasted were they to use that position to stop legislation.

    Personally, I'd like to see how a Labour gorventment would have responded to their own Browne report: would they have ditched it or would they have forced through whatever legislation they would have liked. Fortunately I don't have to see!

  • Comment number 44.

    Why do we still insist MP's have to be present to vote?

    The recent requirement that an MP flies back and forth just to vote appears to show we still are quite happy wasting taxpayer money. The common sense thing to do is change the law so that an MP can vote from anywhere on an issue. (Use a secure line etc)

    THIS WILL SAVE THE COUNTRY AND TAXPAYER THOUSANDS. I expect to be praised for this very helpful and sensible comment

  • Comment number 45.

    looks like the Tories have just asked another black MP to move into shot, so that Sam Gyimah doesn't look out on a limb!

  • Comment number 46.

    i agree with the proposed rises,what i cannot agree with is the breaking of a promise,bit niave of me i know but if you cannot trust politicans whats the point?

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick,

    surely any MP who votes against this must say that after the next election they will write off any accumulated debt by any student hit by these fees. Unless these debts are written off then it would manifestly not be fair in the long term.

    Furthermore, what about students who get their degrees and then promptly emigrate, because surely they will have had the best education that the world can offer, which is why they will have to pay such high fees.

    Finally, surely any student who fails to get a degree may well sue the university for not giving them a good enough 'training' to pass their degree. If they reach the end of the course and do not pass then surely the university has effectively taken money under false pretences.

  • Comment number 48.

    "Once in a tribe it can be hard to escape."

    Aint that the truth, Nicholas. Aint that the truth...

  • Comment number 49.

    Indy2010

    My maths are correct, and semantics matter. That is why I said a marginal rate on the top portion. Please rethink your comment.

    The top slice of income will have 40% deducted. This is fact. If you had a £1 pay rise on £21K you will only see 60p of that. If you only earn the national average wage you will never pay off the loan, and will in effect be paying a higher marginal rate of tax for the rest of your life. Someone earning £150K with no student loan, or who graduated with a grant will pay 41% marginal rate on the top slice of income.

    Where are the progressive taxation rates? Couple this with an increase in VAT and it is clear who the government want to pay for the sins of the bankers.

  • Comment number 50.

    27 - Good points, well made.

    The UKs collapse in the Pisa rankings under Labour should be a cause for concern and you can imagine the shriekings from the left if they had occured under a Conservative government, especially when this collapse occurred at a time when Labour were trumpeting how the vast sums of money they were pouring into education saw continual increases in pass rates at GCSE and 'A' level.

    Universities and employers were saying that there was no increase in standards, in fact the opposite but the bellowing from Labour drowned this out.

    Seems like Labour's bellows were as meaningless on education as they were on the economy.

  • Comment number 51.

    We must not forget, tuition fees are just part of the cost of a university education. My daughter was very frightened of running up a loan. I have underwritten her costs and (fortunately for me) she is in her final year. It has nearly exhausted my savings, there is no way I could have afforded the extra tuition fees. All the little schemes to help the low paid are just fiddling at the edges. This sends one big message to middle class kids - Education is for the Rich. They will be frightened off and the country will suffer. It is the middle classes who will be hit hard and they will blame Clegg in their millions. Who do we vote for now, I wont for the Lib-Dems again, they are no better than the others.

  • Comment number 52.


    The Conservatives' commitment to social mobility will be fatally undermined by the increase in tuition fees. Even with a generous bursary system the impact of higher fees will be felt not only by working class families but by thousands of middle class families who voted for the Conservatives at the last election.

    Only the most socially elite universities could charge fees up to a limit of £9000 while universities with a high proportion of students from poorer families will feel unable to charge fees at such a high level.

    The risk is that the combined outcome of the Browne Review and the Spending Review is to create a two-tier university system with one set of universities for the rich and one set for everybody else. It is hard to see how this meets the Government's stated aim of a fairer society.

  • Comment number 53.

    The only thing that is CERTAIN here is that the Lie Dems will take decades-if ever-to recover from this blatant disregard for their own pledges. The idea that ‘we didn’t win the election so our pledges are non-binding’ is frankly an insult to intelligence. They’re in government and now they will be hung by their own petards. Good riddance I say.

    Im not a Tory but at least you know what you get with them. With the Lie Dems-its lies lies and more damned lies.
    Anything for a wiff or power eh Cleggers?

  • Comment number 54.

    Is it worth the effort of collecting these fees? First, there's organising and distributing the loan at a low interest, then years of following people to slowly recover the cash.

    I'll make a cost saving suggestion to UKgov. Don't waste the afternoon in Parliament, forget the topic, fire the people who are going to administer the stupid scheme and then find something useful to do.

  • Comment number 55.

    AndyC55

    And if Cameron earns another £8k in investment or other income he's be paying at a marginal rate of 51% and soon 52%. That's plenty and if you try and get more, you'll end up getting less as economies the world over have come to realise. It's only the un-knowing and willfully stupid who argue that higher tax rates would achieve anything.

    ______________

    Investment income is taxed far below 51% as you well know.

    It is factually incorrect to state that a higher tax on the PM would not raise more income tax, as unfortunately for him he can't use the non resident and non domicile tricks his kin love.

    Higher tax rates would help reduce the crippling wealth disparity and injustice in this country. Calling anyone stupid who believes this shows in my opinion you really need to give it more thought, and look if there is any proof that the laffer curve even exists, and even if it does, to what tiny extent.

  • Comment number 56.

    33#

    Hear hear. Well said that man.

  • Comment number 57.

    "All that leads loyalists to resent and rather envy rebels. In return for their support they expect that they will be rewarded and the rebels will be punished."

    'Twas ever thus. They should refer to the parable of the prodigal son.

  • Comment number 58.

    I am insensed by the fact that Clegg, Cable & Cameron all keep telling us we don't understand what they are proposing. What an insult to intelligence, of course we all understand.
    However they try and wrap it up it means the next generation of young people with be saddled with debt for the rest of their lives.
    They are also expected to save more for their old age, look after their parents in old age, bring up their own families, save enormous deposit for a house, be part of Cameron's big society all on a starting wage of £21,000.
    Who do they think they are fooling Only themselves. We will not forgive or forget what they have done today.
    The Lim Dems are working on the premise that in a few months time we will all have forgotten their lies, their pledges.

    BUT

    We won't and nor will all the students who were duped by them and gave them their vote.

    What is even more disturbing is they are not even fazed by having made such an outrageous and blatant U-turn. How power goes to people's heads

  • Comment number 59.

    AndyC555,

    OK I don't really want to get into an argument with you as we clearly have different opinions on this, but please answer me this, or at least think about it:

    To someone who is a multi millionaire what motivation do they have to keep working with a 0% tax rate, or 99% tax? The marginal utility provided by an extra £1 will have a negligible impact as would earning an extra 1p, as it is such a low percentage of their total wealth.

    That is not to say a 99% tax rate is justified, but to claim it has an effect on the super wealthy is disingenous.

    Even though earning more money has no impact on them they do it anyway. Could be because they enjoy working, could be because they are bored, could be because they are just really greedy.

    Could be most of their income comes from investments from companies they are not directors of and do not manage. For this kind of income all increased tax rates would do would be to maybe convince them to sell the shares to people with lower marginal tax rates, which is a good thing.

    Finally please look at the graphs in the following link showing how much better countries with lower wealth disparities than the UK perform against a number of different metrics, which was a real eye opener for me.

    http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Wilkinson_09_inequality.pdf

    Thanks

  • Comment number 60.

    49 - "The top slice of income will have 40% deducted. This is fact. If you had a £1 pay rise on £21K you will only see 60p of that. If you only earn the national average wage you will never pay off the loan, and will in effect be paying a higher marginal rate of tax for the rest of your life. Someone earning £150K with no student loan, or who graduated with a grant will pay 41% marginal rate on the top slice of income."

    If you went to Uni and earned £21,001 you'd pay £4,586.75 in tax/NI and student loan repayments under the proposals. If you didn't go to Uni and earned £150,000 you'd pay £57,778.35 in tax and NI. That's quite enough, thanks.

  • Comment number 61.

    "51. At 2:49pm on 09 Dec 2010, Allan Bell wrote:
    We must not forget, tuition fees are just part of the cost of a university education. My daughter was very frightened of running up a loan."

    So your daughter will never buy a car or own a home then?

  • Comment number 62.

    Those who haven't been to university and think they shouldn't pay for others to do so need to look around them and see what the world would be without them. No doctors, no nurses, no engineers, no teachers, no architects. The whole country should pay for these people to be educated as everyone benefits from them.
    If the government wants to save money there are plenty of degree's which several years didn't exist and could probably be reduced in numbers or cut entirely rather than making those people who are useful to society pay out.
    And finally I'm not sure how all of this helps save money. Presumably these new rules will only come into effect for next years freshers and therefore they wont start paying any of this back until at least three to four years time. With the current system you are probably looking at least 10 years to pay off the current fees so the government wont actually see any more money coming in until at least 13 years from now by which time we have been promised to be out of financial difficulty anyway?

  • Comment number 63.

    49 ad the nad
    My apologies I misread your post you asertions about Marginal rates are correct.

    I have got frustrated with other posters who seem to decry the policy without actually reading it, some state you will be paying for 40 yrs others 300 yrs!, the debt is written off after 30 yrs whoever you are, if you are paying less because of your income level you may be better off than the current system, at the current level that is around annual income of £38k which is to be index linked going forward.

    Again seem to think welsh students not paying, the WAG policy is they will pay fees for those students above the £3250 level, so go to a uni that charges the top rate of £9k then WAG will pay £5750 to that uni. the losers in Wales are still the universities, their budget is being cut and WAG did not ringfence the Health budget as in England.

  • Comment number 64.

    andy @ 35

    If going to a top university leaves a student with a very serious chunk of personal debt, that is far more likely to deter students from poorer backgrounds than those from more affluent backgrounds.

    This is a real concern. To describe it as "twaddle" and "garbage" says an awful lot.

    About you.

  • Comment number 65.

    Am still waiting for BBC coverage from members of the public who are in favour of the change. All seems to be one-sided in terms of coverage.

  • Comment number 66.

    'Once in a tribe it can be hard to escape.

    Rebels come to enjoy the praise they get from voters, the attention they get from the media and the wooing by their party's leadership.

    All that leads loyalists to resent and rather envy rebels. In return for their support they expect that they will be rewarded and the rebels will be punished.'

    How utterly depressing! Is there any reason for the fragile egos of our ghastly MPs? Could we get some sort of psychological profiling going to identify all would be politicians and then bar them from office? They could be given worthwhile and socially useful jobs instead like... um... well absolutely anything else really, just to keep them out of the way of real people!

  • Comment number 67.

    I am sick of hearing the tribal mantra " 21% of students will pay less". Besides the obvious repost that the overwhelming majority will pay more, I would like to know who are the infamous 21%.

    Who goes to university to earn less than the average working wage. There are several categories which include. 1. Those who fail to get a good degree, most of which should't have gone and wasted 3 or more years. 2. The workshy who will be incentivised to go from course to course. 3. Those who go to University for love of studying a particular subject.

    All of these groups should pay a premium rather than go free. They are wasting precious resources.

    The government are promoting poor attainment. The focus should be on acheievement with more resources put into state schools in poor areas. The best way out of poverty is education.

  • Comment number 68.

    3. At 1:08pm on 09 Dec 2010, jizzlingtons wrote:
    Interesting about the tribal behaviour. Just shows how farcical the political party system is. Surely the politicians should be voted in the represent the voters not the party? I'm aware that the parties need to stick together sometimes to make sure things get done, but for the rest of it they should vote how they feel not how they are told.

    What punishment do the rebels get?

    ========================================

    One suspects in most cases the same punishment as the loyalists are likely to get - A P45 at the next election.

    Depending on how the AV referendum goes and internal LD party rumblings - it is likey the loyalists who will get punished, at the ballot box and by not being considered electable to any office within their own party when Clegg gets his COnservative party membership card.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Investment income is taxed far below 51% as you well know."

    Is it? Why don't you tell me the rate it's taxed at. I've always though that bank interest (for example) would be taxed at your marginal rate, so 50% if that's where you're at and dividends for the highest rate tax-payers is taxed at 42.5% of the gross dividend. Of course if you know different, do explain.

    And unless you're suggesting higher tax rates would apply ONLY to the PM, then I'm completely accurate that higher rates would bring in less tax. The proportion of income tax paid by the highest incomes is much higher now than it was in the 1970s and 1980s when tax rates were much higher. People left the UK, engaged in tax avoidance or simply stopped working. Once a more sensible regime came in, people stopped doing these things.

    If you look at developed countries you'll see how many have top tax rates around the 40% mark and how few have it above that.

    Give higher tax rates some thought? Hmmm....10 years in HMRC and 13 in private practice has given me plenty of time to work out the answer to that. How has your conclusion been arrived at?

  • Comment number 70.

    Sheer hypocrasy from the Labour Party as usual. It was the Labour government that asked Lord Browne to look at funding for higher education and to put forward his proposals. The new government agreed to accept the finding of this enquiry, and, as a result the suggestions were broadly accepted.

    Now, as uaual, we see a complete U turn by the Labour Party to oppose the increase in tuition fees. How utterly pathetic.

  • Comment number 71.

    Student fees is just another example of the Tories using ideological and flawed methods to pursue valid objectives (i.e. cutting the deficit). I think a majority of people would accept graduates paying for their education.
    We then have two options.
    1. A graduate tax, which could be for example 0.5-1% for all 40% tax payers that went to university in the UK. This would give the Oxbridge ministers pushing for tuition fees the opportunity to pay their share. It would provide an immediate cash inflow. It would spread the burden over a large population of people already earning reasonable salaries and won't significantly affect their lifestyles.
    2. Or we could have high student fees. This will deter people from going to university, exacerbating the skills shortage in the UK labour market. Students will leave university with huge debts, forcing them to chase high paying jobs and taking away choice for alternative careers, such as in the charity sector. They will pay a high portion of their income at a time when they are not earning amazing salaries. They will not be able to save deposits to buy houses within a reasonable timeframe. Their take home pay will be significantly lower for many years after graduating, affecting the amount they could potentially borrow to buy a house. There is also a significant psychological burden in knowing that you carry so much debt. And all of this will lead to little or no extra short term cash income as it will all be funded by student loans, that the government has to help fund.
    Which of these is the logical choice for the best interests of the state and the people of the UK? Which of these is the choice of the mullionaire ministers and Tory party MPs?
    I am a 40% tax paying graduate and would be happy to pay a reasonable graduate tax. I have no children yet, but when I do I'll be looking to send them to university on the continent if this crazy tuition fees policy is still in place.
    Shame on Labour for introducing fees in the first place and then not burying the Coalition on this outrageous tuition fee increase.
    Good luck to the student protesters!

  • Comment number 72.

    @65 It wouldn't make interesting journalism! Nevermind, the silence majority (or is that silenced) Conservatives and LibDems will keep Labour out! (There are other Political parties etc....)

  • Comment number 73.

    67. At 3:19pm on 09 Dec 2010, Jeff Duncan wrote:

    "Who goes to university to earn less than the average working wage. There are several categories which include. 1. Those who fail to get a good degree, most of which should't have gone and wasted 3 or more years. 2. The workshy who will be incentivised to go from course to course. 3. Those who go to University for love of studying a particular subject."


    A newly qualified teacher will earn £21,588 in England and Wales (outside London) less than the average salary in the UK, would you put all of those in your 3 categories you outlined.

  • Comment number 74.

    59#

    Oh god, not that old discredited data set AGAIN.... You ought to meet Lefty11. The pair of you would get on famously.

  • Comment number 75.

    A lot of people seem to be suggesting that because of their "lies", that Lib-Dems will take decades to get re-elected.
    Maybe i've missed something, but they were not elected this time. They came a very poor third (even poorer when compared against who came 1st and 2nd!). Should there not be questions about why they even have positions in a government to which they were not elected, or is this maybe one of the many compromises of our system. What is the saying, "democracy is the worst form, until it's compared to the others". (apologies if i've made a complete mess of this quote).
    I'm more concerned about the dwindling standard of secondary eduction than the increase in fees for further education.

  • Comment number 76.

    64

    Two points:

    1. I have yet to see any figures indicating the rate at which this future debt will be paid off. I have no idea what proportion of future graduates will earn more than 21 K, and less so how many might actually earn enough in their first 30 years of work to pay the debt in full, after which debt is automatically written off (though that could change). In essence future governments are going to have to find a way to plug what could be a very big black hole.

    2. The real beneficiaries out of this are the English Universities. How many Uni Chancellors have been protesting this? Not many but I suspect that the Scottish, Welsh and Ulster Uni bosses will soon weigh in when they realise how much extra funding is going into English Universities. No one has noticed this but the Barnett formula has been well kicked into touch.

  • Comment number 77.

    A poor day for democracy. We don't get to voice our opinion on every issue, but in the last election very many students voted Lib Dem on this one topic - to remove student fees. There are MP's there today voting against the issues that got them elected.

  • Comment number 78.

    This issue won't go away after today - it's about betrayal, credibility, integrity as well as the huge burden that this hike will put on hundreds of thousands of ordinary students (and/or their parents) as they start their working life - unless they come from very well off backgrounds, that is. Many universities are likely to close in due course, with University education more and more becoming the preserve of the rich.

    I'll probably rejoin Labour now to try and breathe socialism into it and fight against the Liberal Democrats, as I haved vowed to do because of this - Chris Huhne is the MP and he only won on the back of thousands of Labour votes (not mine; I couldn't bring myself to vote for New Labour or anyone else).

    Times are changing and moving fast.

  • Comment number 79.

    Anyone thought to mention to the students that the fees will be going up to £15k a year, to cover the cost of the extra policing and the damage caused?

  • Comment number 80.

    I for one am shocked:-
    a) breaking election pledges
    b) doing u-turns.
    c) de-crying plans, and being unable to offer a viable alternative.
    d) - then championing those same plans when they get to power
    e) the cost of everything going up.

  • Comment number 81.

    Nick - given the emotions being generated on this issue inside and outside parliament do you really think a blog with an US vs THEM and LOYAL or REBEL theme was a good idea at this time?

  • Comment number 82.

    59 - Oh dear, you haven't been suckered by that equality trust/spirit level nonsense have you? Just a few thoughts on this.....

    Why did they exclude the Czech Republic, South Korea and Hong Kong from the analysis when all these societies are wealthier than Portugal?

    Why did they exclude Singapore and ALL the Scandanavian countries from the graph of mental illness? Could it be because they are income equal but have high rates of mental illness? Surely not, that would be cherry picking the results.


    Why did they say that the USA’s decline in homicide ended in 2005 when 2008 saw the lowest number of homicides since 1965? America's murder rate has halved in the last two decades despite rising inequality.

    Maybe the high rate of teen births in Portugal (in 2002) had more to do with abortion being illegal until 2007 than it had to do with income inequality?

    They suggest that people in more equal countries give more to charity when the reverse is actually true.

    A recent World Values Survey data showed no correlation between 'happiness' and inequality, but a strong correlation between 'happiness' and income?

    The highest rates of alcoholism in the developed world are in the income equal Scandinavian countries.

    If equality creates good health, why does Denmark currently have the lowest life expectancy of any country they list?

    If greater equality makes countries less violent and more law-abiding, why does Sweden having the highest rate of rape and theft of any wealthy country? Why does Finland have the highest murder rate in Europe?

    Japan has terrific equality of income. Also happens to be one of the most racist, misogynistic nations on earth.

    What does all this proove? That if you doctor the data to get the results you want, you get the results you want. Ask saga about that.


    As for your comments on tax and millionaires. Do you know many millionaires and what motivates them? I'm glad you see the demerits of a 99% tax rate but what rate do YOU think would work? And at what level would you introduce it. The usual answer from left-wingers has a very high rate of tax starting about 1/3 higher than the income they're on themselves.

  • Comment number 83.

    Our higher education system needs to focus on QUALITY rather than just quantity as happened under Labour.

    The U.S. has one of the best higher education systems in the world, but students pay for it. This is healthy: it forces the student to weigh up whether the benefit of the additional education is worth the cost. It also puts students in charge and forces universities to respond to students' criticisms, forcing up standards. Norway, a very rich country, follows the same model as do many other countries.

    Poor but bright students in the U.S. have no problems securing access to higher education; a whole range of scholarships and awards are available, and many students also work part time to pay their way. The same will be true here.

    I do regret the end of a free higher education; that said, we are bankrupt (thanks Labour!) and some tough choices have to be made. If you're bright enough to go to university, it doesn't seem unreasonable for the State to assume you can look after yourself better than those who aren't as bright, i.e. the State should focus its efforts on making sure EVERYONE has the basics through primary and secondary school. Surely, lefties, that is fair, equality?

    As for those who say Labour wouldn't have done this, well Labour commissioned the report and would have done exactly the same given the country has no money. Hypocrites the lot of them. And they need to do better than to take the rest of the general public for fools.

  • Comment number 84.

    The saddest indictment on this Country is that we talk about poor students from poor family backgrounds.
    Nick Clegg could have at least talked about working towards a more egalatarian society wherby no-one feels like a second class citizen.

    Talking about those who qualify for free school meals is quite shocking being asssited. How do you think this makes young people feel? they go to University feeling like scroungers, not conducive at all to feeling worthy of the place they worked so hard to get.


    We should be charging those who went to private school the same fees for their University education as they paid for their schooling. Why should they be able to opt out and opt in, just because they can, that is not a fair society Clegg & Cameron keep banging on about.
    One rule for the haves and one for the havenots!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    @78 - "This issue won't go away after today - it's about betrayal, credibility, integrity as well as the huge burden that this hike will put on hundreds of thousands of ordinary students (and/or their parents) as they start their working life - unless they come from very well off backgrounds, that is."

    Unfortunately, it's not - it's about Labour spending too much in the good times, and putting nothing away for the bad times. We have a massive deficit, which needs to be recovered due to Labours incompetence. This is just one means of reigning spending back in. There will be many more measures to come, and none of them will be popular.

    However, the alternative of letting Labour back in is just not worth contemplating - they will just finish the job they started of ruining this once fine country.

  • Comment number 86.

    74 - I know. One of the funniest claims they make is that if Britain became as equal as Japan, Norway, Sweden and Finland, UK homicide rates could fall by 75% (page 268).

    Murder rates per million 1999-2000 (the stats used by the authors).

    Finland: 28.20
    Norway: 9.70
    Sweden: 18.70
    Japan: 5.20
    UK 15.0

    So why not argue that we're lucky we're not as income equal as Finland as that would double our murder rate?

  • Comment number 87.

    84#

    ZZZZZZZZZzzzz.... bang that tub, brother. They might just be able to hear you in Parliament Square.

  • Comment number 88.

    Good to see students have got their priorities sorted. Fashion,ipod,drinks iphone,education paid for by somebody else so i can get a good job,Tick.

  • Comment number 89.

    What happens if you don't repay the debt?

    Along the lines of those who simply didn't pay the Poll Tax, it was eventually seen as unworkable, what if graduates become self employed/free-lance when leaving college and do not declare their student debt? PAYE employees would have the repayment deducted at source, but I am sure that free-lancers could manipulate their returns to discount them, or perhaps a clever accountant could find a way of claiming them as tax deductable against a minimum income whilst other forms of renumeration constitute 'actual' income.

    I don't know much about this (and am prepared to be corrected by those who do) but it strikes me that the way to defeat unpopular tax, be that direct or through inherant debt, is to simply not pay it.

  • Comment number 90.

    Nick Clegg is on borrowed time promises before the election have gone due to him seeking power. It is goodbye to the Lib Dems and hopefully after the vote it will split the coelition enough to force an election

  • Comment number 91.

    87# is quite obviously a millionaire!!


    I at least believe in a fair society unlike the coalition who use words so cheaply and meaninglessly.

    What is wroung with aspiring to an egalatarian society, unless you have more money than sense, in which case you deserve to have it taken away from you
    I too can yawn, yawn at arrogance!!

  • Comment number 92.

    Why should I pay for someone to spend three years doing, for example, a media studies degree; there are too many 'useless' degrees, almost hobby degrees. Any degree without a social value should be paid for by the student, doctors, engineers, etc should receive subsidies.
    Why is the student year still littered with holidays, 3 months in the summer? Why not reduce the holidays and intensify the tutorial aspect, not 6 or 8 hours per week, and complete the degree in two years which would significantly reduce any debt potential? After all its not intended to be a three year hoot, booze up, or some extra time before getting a real job.

  • Comment number 93.

    I doubt if many people would object if fees had to be paid back when a graduate's earnings exceeded £100K, or even probably £60K. £21K seems far too low and is inconsistent with the idea that one's degree has led to higher than average earnings. Maybe the debate should be around the level that repayment ought to start?

    The second bone of contention is about politicians who don't keep their promises. Surely no one can be surprised about that? Offended yes but not surprised. Half of them are lawyers......need I say more.

  • Comment number 94.

    I cannot understand the claims that there is no choice but to raise fees given the economic situation. I agree that the previous government was guilty of both criminal mismanagement of the economy and deliberately lying about the economic position in the election - we should not have expected anything else. However there are clear alternatives to fill the funding gap. The obvious alternative would be to restrict tax relief on all investments, including pensions and ISAs, to basic rate. The disadvantage of this, of course, is that the big losers would be the wealthy 40-70 year olds so beloved of the Conservatives.
    On a slightly different point, I am watching the scenes from Parliament Square on TV and am disgusted by the police behaviour. The police act with our consent and if we lose faith in their impartiality and good sense then they lose their legitimacy. I can say that, at the age of 55 and after a lifetime of law abiding behaviour, they have lost my support.

  • Comment number 95.

    Given that the youth of today and next generation of politics are currently protesting over tuition fees,it seems bizarre to treat the youthful brain as an independent agent, the only agent is the whole person.I can't believe it is beyond the wit of our expert(so called) government of the day regarding tuition fees to devise a control system,rather than rush towards another coalition leadership disaster.Why do governments persist on always cutting spending on things that work?Another jolt to students, government at its best, albeit a fallible best.

  • Comment number 96.

    89 - As you say, PAYE means that the employed would have their loans re-payed at source as happens at the moment.

    The self-employed COULD reduce the income they declare but then they can do that at the moment. I don't approve of that.

    As for your idea of employing a clever accountant....yes, like the sound of that. Spread the word. I wonder if dividend income would be included or if it's just employment income.....hmmmm...have to check that one out....

  • Comment number 97.

    Earlier in the year.....

    "I agree with Nick." (repeated several times)

    Haven't we come a long way since that first election debate?

  • Comment number 98.

    84 timetoponder

    What is all this nonsense about an 'egalitarian' society?

    How are you going to bring that about?

    Is France 'egalitarian'? It's controlled by a political elite educated in their own elite political school.

    Are Germany or Sweden 'egalitarian'? they are controlled by industrial elites who have mnore influence oevr economic policy than any other groups.

    is China an 'egalitarian' society? It's a communist dictatorship.

    Is Russia an 'egalitarian' society? It's controlled by all the same people who were at the top of the KGB before communism was ripped up.

    All the socialists mean when they say they want a 'egalitarian' society is that you ware all equally poor while we are the ruling elite.

    Education has to eb paiod for whethter you are rich or poor and if the porr qualify themselves for skilled work they should accept the responsibilites that go with highly paid work...incime tax and national insurance. You can't aspire to be part of a group but want to play by your own rules. If you want in pay the dues.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 99.

    91 - "I too can yawn, yawn at arrogance!!"

    That ought to bring the capitalist machinery tumbling down.

    Actually I'm in favour of an egalitarian society too. But my preferred method is to encourage a society in which everyone can be equally wealthy rather than equally poor.

  • Comment number 100.

    To those who claim that Liberal are turning their backs on an election pledge.
    No, they aren't! That pledge made was if they get to form the government. They didn't win, they came 3rd! The fact they have been asked to be the junior partner in a coalition with the Tories who did get the most votes in the election, means they cannot live up to all their promises. This is one where they have to either tow the line and back it for the sake of maintaining a working government or rebel, splitting the government making it in essence useless.
    Ok, so let's say they do rebel and we call for a general election. Who would you vote for? We know the Tories want increased fees, we also know the Labour do as they called for the Browne report with Ed Miliband being the driving force behind it, so who would you vote for?

    So who would you vote for...UKIP, Green, BNP? Would you seriously want these minor/radical parties in charge of the country?

    As much as I do not back this particular proposal, I also know that all the major parties realise it is necessary!

 

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