Looking through the budget papers released today, I found myself wondering again at the lack of vision in the recent budget.
The adage that ‘a zero budget is what you get when you’re economy is failing’ rings true in the context of the documents. There is no vision for a better society and no credible plan to address the fundamental problems with our economy.
Amidst the budget papers Treasury has provided (some would say predictable) advice on reintroducing interest on student loans. It could be argued that this is Treasury’s prerogative – and it is. But generally Ministers will tell officials beforehand if they’re wasting their time – and energy will be put into more productive tasks. I expect the advice released signals that National Ministers have been actively considering putting interest back on student loans.
National have never liked the interest-free student loan policy that Labour introduced, and have added an ‘administration fee’ since coming to government. They’ve cut access to student allowances. Generally, they’re not afraid to restrict access to those with aspirations who are from poorer backgrounds and are otherwise unable to afford to study. That is because National see education as a cost rather than an investment.
More fool them.