Cable: Fair and affordable

Business secretary Vince Cable comments on the plans to raise tuition fees to £9,000:

“The coalition government has developed a package that is fairer than the present system of student finance and affordable for the nation.

“Access to higher education will be on the basis of ability, not ability to pay. No-one will have to pay up-front tuition fees. We are extending loans for the cost of tuition to the majority of part-time students. No one will contribute until they can afford to do so – when they are in well paid jobs.

“The graduate contribution system that we have designed will protect the lowest earning graduates and ensure that their contributions are linked to their ability to pay; indeed, under our new more progressive repayment system, 25%, maybe as many as 30% according to the IFS, of graduates with the lowest lifetime earnings will pay back less than they do now.

“We want to have a thriving university sector with excellent teaching accessible to everyone who has the ability to go. We are clear that there must be a link between the financial advantages conferred by a degree and the contribution made by the graduate. A high earning banker or lawyer should pay more than a nurse or youth worker.”