Thursday, December 09, 2010

Student Finance

We all know that student finance is up for a vote in the Commons tomorrow. But notwithstanding the Clegg grizzling on Radio 5Live this morning that people don't understand the proposals, it's damnably difficult to find the actual motion as proposed and genuinely uninterpreted by spin merchants and journalists, together with draft instrument and briefing notes. It's very fluffily interpreted by all sorts but it's very hard to find the actual nub of it.

So here it is in all it's baldness...

It's in the Schedule of the Commons as two motions:
To approve resolution on increasing the higher amount which is to be applied under the Higher Education Act 2004
Relating to the draft Higher Education Basic Amount (England) Regulations
Here is the Order of Business.
The actual draft Statutory Instrument is here. It's explained here.

But by heck I had to search for this stuff!

The Commons Library briefing notes for MPs are here.

So many questions emerge from this. Not least , why do the briefing notes emanate from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) rather the Department for Education. It doesn't take a genius to surmise that this division of workload demonstrates the thinking behind the decision to propose funding more for bankers and lawyers than for archaeologists and historians...

Anyway, I was just going to write a little piece about the irony of the Times deliberating that:
There has been speculation that staging the vote on a Thursday — when many Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs will have left for their constituencies — could make it easier to get it through without the Lib Dems.
Obviously it was the devolved Scottish MPs who voted in the damnable tuition fees in the first place for English students but kept university education for British students resident in Scotland (and EU ones not resident in Britain except English ones) fee-free at Scottish universities, funded by English taxpayers. So the irony that it might be easier to vote-in fee increases for English students once the Scots have gone home, is not wasted on me...

Now it seems that the Welsh Assembly Government has said that Welsh students will not have to pay the planned increases in tuition fees because they will be funded by cutting the general grant made to Universities and then making up this amount via the increasing of fees to students from England studying at Welsh Universities.

Surely it's time for a real look at this botched devolution - we are either one nation or we are not. Clearly we are not in my view. May I refer you to the Campaign for an English Parliament.

And don't start me on the EMA!

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