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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More successes for the Liberal Democrats in Government

Paul Waugh on Politics Home yesterday highlights two more of the quiet successes of the Liberal Democrats in Government.

The first of these are on student visas, where he says that Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have won a significant battle to overturn Tory plans for a cap on numbers:

The Lib Dem case was bolstered by universities - and businesses - arguing forcefully that it was economically bonkers to curb the £5bn/year income from international students.

As is now commonplace, this battle was largely fought out behind closed doors in Cabinet Sub-Committees, with some wins for Theresa May some days and wins for Cable and Clegg on others. The key argument was that a cap would undermine the Budget's key message of growth.

Of course, the Home Office has been allowed to save face with a rider that reserves the right to look again at a cap later. But the Lib Dems say that all of the spin this morning about numbers of students being slashed by 80,000 or 100,000 was "arbitrary" and based on dubious projections.

A senior Liberal Democrat source said: "Nick and Vince were absolutely adamant about this. The last thing we need to be doing when we are encouraging growth is to pull the rug out from under the feet of our great universities.

“We’ve got to get away from an obsession with numbers. Yes loopholes can and will be closed but Nick was very clear that we shouldn’t have a Dutch auction at the expense of one of the most vibrant and thriving sectors of the British economy.

“The draconian restrictions originally planned by the Home Office would have been a slap in the face for British colleges, universities and businesses. This is a victory for reason over prejudice.”

The second is the Home Office's decision to agree that the UK should opt-in to the EU directive on human trafficking is another Lib Dem policy box ticked.

These are substantial and very Liberal victories. Today we will have another when more low earners are taken out of tax altogether and those earning less than £100,000 a year have their tax bill cut.
Well noted - sadly the media are blinkered to anything that does not rank as a 'negative' when it comes to the Liberal Democrats.
Our Unis are a joke. The number of paying foreign students being awarded degrees who can hardly speak the language is tragic.

Yes, unis will lose income, but at least they will get some intellectual rigour back. However, the damage has been done regarding their credibility as institutions
Anonymous: You obviously have an axe of some sort to grind. I work at a University; the real tragedy is the number of paying domestic students who can hardly speak the language!

That said, foreign students pay much higher fees and in effect provide the income needed for HE which successive governments here have chosen not to provide. That is not a joke.
So as long as you have money there is a place in University, sounds familiar does it not....
Well under the UK Government proposals there are still no upfront fees and low paid graduates will pay back less than beforee if they pay anything at all.
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