Labour’s Barry Gardiner went up against Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, and the results were hilarious. Gardiner, the Shadow Trade Secretary, took control of the narrative. And he left Bradley speechless with the question:
How many cornflakes does 6.8p buy you, Karen?
— Bittah Conqueror 🇬🇭 🇳🇬💚 (@JakeWiafe) May 31, 2017
While Bradley failed to pin down Gardiner on tuition fee costings, the shadow minister drew attention to the Conservatives’ number failings. The Conservative manifesto mis-costed free school breakfasts at just 6.8p per child. And the media barely batted an eyelid. Meanwhile, when Jeremy Corbyn forgot a figure on Woman’s Hour (which was actually correctly costed in the Labour manifesto), it became the lead story.
Free tuition fees
Gardiner talked up Labour’s policy of free tuition fees during the exchange. And Novara Media‘s Aaron Bastani has laid out eight reasons why he thinks scrapping tuition fees is a no-brainer.
One striking point from Bastani is that “fees of £9,000 do indeed cost the taxpayer more than fees of £3,000”. That’s because:
45% of debt won’t be repaid, all but nullifying any gains from increasing student debt…
Another point Bastani makes is about society and the economy as a whole:
Countries with the most graduates also tend to exhibit the highest levels of productivity and innovation… business benefits from an educated workforce…
Expanding on his point, Bastani says:
Business benefits from an educated workforce. They profit from it… Why should individuals foot the bill of an asset which private enterprise benefits from? Why should the gains of an educated workforce accrue to the private sector, while the risks and the costs are socialised onto workers?
Bastani later compounds his argument that the whole of Britain benefits from free tuition fees. He makes clear that burdening students with huge amounts of debt “takes demand out of the economy”. In other words, instead of graduates spending money in local businesses, that money is going to “loan sharks”.
Gardiner was right to highlight Labour’s free tuition fee policy. As Bastani shows, it would be brilliant for the UK. On tuition fees and costings, Gardiner smashed it on Channel 4.
Watch Bastani’s pitch here:
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