Urgent question on student tuition fees

18 December 2018

Wes Streeting MP asked an urgent question on the ONS decision on the treatment of student tuition fees and maintenance loans and the implications for the public finances.

Following an Office for National Statistics decision, a change in how student loans are recorded in public finances will contribute a further £12bn to the UK's deficit. Member of the Treasury Select Committee, Wes Streeting, asked an urgent question on the ONS decision on the treatment of student tuition fees and maintenance loans and the implications for the public finances.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Elizabeth Truss, responded on behalf of the Government and confirmed that "..after its review of the treatment of student loans in Government finances, the Office of National Statistics has decided some of the spending on student loans will be included in the deficit when the money is first lent to students." She went on to state that this was "a technical accounting decision by the ONS..."  

Truss then said that it is for the Office for Budget Responsibility to determine how to reflect the decision in future forecasts and that the decision did not affect students ability to receive or repay loans and nor did the decision have any implications on public debt. 

Wes Streeting confirmed that he welcomed the ONS decision, which was in line with the Treasury Committee's recommendations. He went on to state that the decision "...makes the case for real reform of our higher education system..".

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