I welcome what Jeremy Corbyn had to say on education yesterday. But there was a big omission, which was student debt.
It's all well and good saying that students may not have to pay fees in the future.
And I, of course, enjoyed university on that basis.
But what of those in between who have student debt? Will they continue to pay? My answer is that I think that would be a big mistake.
The reality is that QE could now be used to repurchase the student debt that has already sold and that still in state hands owned by the Student Loan Company which in total now have a nominal value of about £86 billion. This is only just over a year's QE funding at present and I say 'nominal' because it is thought that up to 70% of all new graduates may never repay all of their loans meaning that the market price of this debt is way below the notional or nominal value.
If this was done then a three stage process could begin towards debt write off.
First the interest rate on the loan - which has always been too high - could be reduced to that which the government pays on this in the first instance - or 1% or thereabouts.
Second, to stimulate the economy a moratorium on debt repayment could be declared of, say, three years whilst the impact was reviewed.
During that period a decision would be needed on how to go forward whilst still funding universities appropriately. This may not result in free university in all case, but then it never was. It would however be much less than now and with different rates maybe for UK and overseas students (Scotland needs to be looked at as a precedent here).
The aim is straightforward:
1) To reduce private debt;
2) To encourage people into higher education;
3) To stimulate the economy by releasing money into current spending;
4) To give people the chance to buy their own house and save for a pension denied now by student debt repayment;
5) To guarantee new funding for the university sector - which is big overseas earner;
6) To give a massive boost to people's confidence in their future;
7) To do so at very limited cost as QE is available for this purpose.
Why aren't such radical polices being proposed is the question that needs to be asked, and I wish I knew the answer.