HC Deb 15 June 1999 vol 333 cc127-8W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will estimate the cost of increasing the income level below which students are exempt from tuition fees by(a) £2,000, (b) £4,000, (c) £6,000, (d) £8,000 and (e) £10,000 for students resident in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales, (iii) Northern Ireland and (iv) England. [84061]

Mr. Mudie

[holding answer 13 May 1999]The estimated costs for students ordinarily resident in England and Wales and EU students in English and Welsh institutions, and for Scottish resident students and EU students in Scottish institutions, are given in the table. Estimates are not available for Northern Ireland as suitable information on levels of contributions is not readily available.

Costs of increasing income level below which students are exempt from paying tuition fees—2000–01
£ million
Increase in income level England and Wales Scotland
£2,000 5 1
£4,000 20 2
£6,000 35 5
£8,000 60 11
£10,000 85 17

The costs have been estimated for the year 2001–02 by which time, under the current arrangements, virtually all students will have a liability to contribute to their tuition according to means. It has been assumed that existing contributions for all other income levels above the increased income level below which students are exempt remain the same. If the contribution scales were to be recalculated on the basis of increased income thresholds then there would be further knock-on costs, depending on how the policy is implemented, on the proportion of tuition fees paid by those not fully exempt and on other assessed elements of student support, and so the financial impact would be significantly higher.

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