Sorry to bang on about this, but it’s student maintenance grants becoming loans again.
The Indie have reported that the Government didn’t do any research on whether increasing the burden on students would do anything to the number of people applying for Uni.
Labour have said the admission means that it’s clear Osborne has “abandoned evidence-based policy” in his most recent budget and that that’s definitely a bad thing.
That seems a sensible argument, for once, because it is reasonable to assume that someone will have looked into the effects of these kinds of changes before they do them.
There’s two sides to every coin, though, and as with any research the question at the start is going to make a difference to whether the research fidings help a particular cause.
So if, as I suspect, Mr Osborne was simply concerned with cutting costs and not about keeping students wanting to go to Uni then it’s safe to say that the research would’ve given him the answer he wanted.
But actually, hold on. Wasn’t it only a week or so since Labour were on the Today programme arguing that Mr Osborne was wrong to be taking advice from experts on what he chose to do?
Barbara Keeley, the shadow treasury minister, said when it was put to her that an early sale of RBS shares would ‘stoke the market’ and that was advice from the industry and the independent Bank of England that the sale was “a decision for the chancellor” and agreed when asked if the BoE should keep its nose out.
In other words, the narrative at the moment seems to be that Mr Osborne should do research and then ignore it and take the decision – and then presumably the criticism – anyway.