I was provoked by an article in The Guardian by LibDem MP John Hemming today, in which he argues that the new English system of tuition fees is basically a graduate tax:
[F]or 54.2% of students in the future it does not matter how much their tuition actually costs. They will pay the same 9% of income over £21,000 a year for 30 years. In other words this new system is a graduate tax in all but name.
Does he not regard it as a problem that graduates whose parents were rich enough to pay their fees upfront won’t have to pay his so-called “graduate tax”? (Let’s face it, even fees as high as £9000 a year are not too shocking to upper-middle-class parents who have just finished paying equivalent private school fees!)
Does he not regard it as a problem that top earners (tomorrow’s bankers, for instance) will have to pay off less than the usual 9% for 30 years?
This is a graduate tax with an opt-out for the rich!
That said, I don’t think a graduate tax would work, either, and the only real solution is to go back to state-funded universities, finding the money by cutting admission numbers.