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Back pedalling

Selling the student-loan book will cover the cost of unrestrained enrolments only for “the first few years,” George Osborne says.

The costs of allowing universities in England to recruit as many home undergraduates as they want cannot be funded indefinitely by selling earlier student debts, the chancellor of the exchequer has conceded.

Appearing this morning before the Treasury committee to answer questions about his autumn statement, Mr Osborne said that lifting the “Gosplan” student number cap in 2015 was “one of the big supply-side reforms of the autumn statement”.

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