Tomorrow I'll speak to 6th formers at Park House School. One key message I'll aim to get across is the same message I've spoken about at St Gabriel's, Bradfield College, Trinity and Kennet Schools. Its about the dangerous fiscal legacy that this Government's £9,000 tuition fees policy has left for future generations regardless of whether they went to uni or not.
I will explain that our proposed cut in fees to £6,000 (from September 2016) would address the double-debt time bomb which in 30 years time, when this generation of politicians who never paid a penny to go to university, will be long gone.
What I mean by that is that under the £9,000 fees system it is estimated that 45% of graduates will not repay the full amount even after 30 years. Whilst that remaining debt is written off for the individual it doesn't just disappear. It then becomes public debt and is estimated to open up a £21billion gap in the public finances that will see the students who've paid back a lot of their loan, the students who paid back all of their loan and even those who didn't go to uni at all hit with higher taxes or reduced public services. I think that's wrong, short-term thinking and that's what our fee cut fixes.
I also explained that university funding would not be reduced as we plan to replace the fee income with direct Government funding secured through reducing the tax relief on pension contributions for the highest earners.
Finally, to help with living costs we would increase student maintenance grants by £400 a year from September 2016, paid for by increasing interest payments on the higher earning graduates (which addresses concerns about the fee cut helping only those higher earners).