Message of support in from Arthur Scargill

“The latest wave of student strikes is reminiscent of the May 68 days.

Keep up the fight ladies and gentleman.

This is a fight for jobs, education and all public services.


Arthur Scargill
Socialist Labour Party, President”

Thanks to everyone that has been sending us messages of support and those that have been supporting us in other ways.

Tuesday will see the next national day of action (called by the Education Activist Network, London Assembly and the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts) lets continue to build on our success and send a message to the Coalition Government we will not be made to pay.

Assemble on Tuesday at University Place, 12noon.                

MMU Students assemble at  All Saints Park, 12noon.

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One Response to Message of support in from Arthur Scargill

  1. Giles Haworth says:

    Doubtless NUS, in making its justifiable objections to the Government’s University fees proposals, receives the challenge “What is your alternative?”

    In case it is of any use to you in formulating your reply, I forward the proposals which I sent to Vincent Cable, both while he was in opposition and now he has his present responsibilities in Government.

    I recommended an Hypothecated Universities Tax upon the following grounds:

    1. It avoids the major immediate state expenditure entailed by the Government’s scheme, – which it is their priority to avoid in present circumstances -, and all uncertainty about when and to what extent this would ever be refunded.

    2. By sharing the burden of payment more widely over those best able to pay, – all of them, graduates or otherwise, being beneficiaries of our having a well-funded and extensive range of university education -, it makes the individual burden lighter. This should be welcome on all grounds and in particular it avoids the obstacles to timely individual pension provision and family formation entailed by the Government’s scheme, which requires graduates to set aside a significant portion of their income, for many years, for the purpose of clearing debt.

    3. It avoids the distortion of higher education being undertaken primarily for financial gain and as being perceived primarily as a benefit to those who receive it.

    With Best Wishes

    Giles Haworth

    —– Forwarded Message —-
    Sent: Saturday, 23 October, 2010 21:29:55
    Subject: Funding Unversities

    Dear Vincent Cable

    I do not know if you had the chance to read the the message which I sent you on 13 October last year [2009], following your conference speech on Student Fees. I attach it below but, now that you have direct responsibility, I reiterate the main points:


    The state would still have to pay the money up front and, under either system recoup an uncertain amount back in a distant future. That does not accord well with our present economic situation, let alone other considerations, many of which are specific government policy. EG, Graduates burdened with lengthy periods of substantial Tax or Repayment would be handicapped either from starting FAMILIES or commencing early and appropriate PENSION provision.

    Either system of repayment also reinforces two social fallacies: that the primary motive for and benefit from gaining University education is INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL GAIN. This is not why we have universities. Financially, if we had no graduates we would have no national prosperity. Culturally, if all our graduates were money grubbers we would have no Fair or Big Society.

    A practical way to have the benefits of a substantial and well-funded Universities sector, paid for up-front, with the burden fairly borne, at the lowest possible rate, by those best able to pay out of the totality of those in our society who benefit from it is an HYPOTHECATED UNIVERSITIES TAX. Not, specifically, a Graduate Tax but a UNIVERSITIES Tax.

    The procedure for instituting this is set out in my original letter.

    There is the political issue of persuading a wider body of tax-payers that this is a just imposition but, aside from the “broadest shoulders” argument, which the Government may wish to use sparingly:

    1: As many who would pay the Universities Tax would be graduates, they could be advised that they would be paying Less, annually, than under a fees repayment system and

    2 the perspective does need to be restored that a good supply of Graduates is a benefit to EVERYONE [from devising systems for well-stocked supermarkets and prompt individual payments systems,to well-designed tools and ingenious popular entertainments; the list is endless.]

    These proposals do take a different course from those most publicly under discussion at the present time but I hope that it is not too late for their virtues to commend themselves.

    With Best Wishes for yourself and for your difficult tasks

    Giles Haworth

    Might I make a suggestion as to how to reconcile the Liberal Democrats’ continued aspiration abolish University Student Fees with the recognition at the recent conference of the difficulties presented by the current economic situation?

    There seemed to be two clear deficiencies in the arguments put forward when the current legislation was introduced.

    1. There was no attempt to define how much funding for universities was actually needed.

    This was despite an implicit recognition that the amount that the universities would wish to receive would not be met by the fees proposals. Their aspiration for more was indirectly acknowledged through the introduction of measures to cap the amounts which could be charged and to guarantee that this level could not be raised for a term of years.

    2. The justification for raising additional funds through a levy on students was said to be that their degrees would enable them to receive significantly higher lifetime earnings. It was therefore said to be legitimate that they should pay personally for the facilities which enabled them to gain this benefit.

    This argument, however, disregarded the facts

    a), that on any income tax system remotely like our present one, those receiving higher incomes would, in any case, pay higher taxes, and

    b), other persons who gained significantly high incomes, as it might be Premier Division Footballers, would receive considerable benefits from there being those with graduate abilities available to meet their needs, without their having to pay a surcharge.

    A Fair Taxation system, therefore, would not therefore raise additional funds through a specific charge on graduates, which Liberal Democrats will have recognised as promoting two additional distortions: i) the perception that a University education is to be understood primarily as a route to an enhanced income and, ii), the need to raise this income producing pressure for increased national incomes differentiation, when a healthy society has been seen as correlating with less, rather than more.

    The logical means by which to proceed would, therefore, seem to be

    1. To take an explicit and open political decision as to what level of public funding the universities should receive, and,

    2, if that amount cannot be found out of the present scale of taxation, to specify an addition tax band between the present Higher and Standard Rate. It is likely that most of those in it would be graduates. Those who were not, would be receiving considerable personal financial benefit from their existence. This band could either be set at a higher point, raising the sum through richer people paying more, or lower, making more people pay but a lower amount. That would be another open and explicit political decision.

    Even where the money was coming from the same people as those who would otherwise have been repaying student loans, it would be an infinitely simpler way of obtaining the money than through the present network of calculations and exemptions. The money would be received far nearer to the time at which it needed to be spent, in far more exactly predictable amounts, to meet an explicitly specified bill, from a more fairly defined range of contributors and without the social distortions already noted.

    I hope that you will find these suggestions helpful.

    With Best Wishes

    Dear Mr Denham and Tony

    You recently reminded Vince Cable in the House that “if we have learnt anything from our recent experiences, it is that success cannot be built on debt.”

    A year ago, I wrote to Mr Cable, and copied to Tony, proposals for how we could have a properly funded Universities sector, paid for up-front, without individual of national indebtedness. I have recently re-sent my proposals to him and copy them to you now, hoping that there is still time for these to be of use.

    With Best Wishes

    Giles Haworth

    [Central Manchester].

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