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Coalition plans are public policymaking at its worst

John Denham

The White Paper on higher education shows every sign of the Conservative-led government making it up as it goes along. Whatever their merits and weaknesses, these proposals are certainly not what the coalition had in mind when it asked Parliament to vote for the highest fees of any public university system.

Ministers seem surprised that, having cut teaching funding by 80 per cent and designed a system with every incentive for high fees, far more institutions are charging around £9,000 than the ‘exceptions’ promised. This has created both a black hole in their higher education budget and a damaging political reaction to high fees.

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