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UK Election lessons for NZ

June 15, 2017

A reader’s letter to the Daily Telegraph that makes some very valid points re the UK Election, but also addresses some key issues current in NZ:-

SIR – In April 2016 the Sutton Trust estimated that British students would graduate with average debts of £44,000. Labour’s offer to abolish tuition fees and write off much existing debt represented a mouthwatering (if undeliverable) offer to the large student populations in those many seats that – unexpectedly to some – fell to Labour.

It is notable that in Scotland, where tuition fees are paid by government and loan interest accrues at a much lower rate than in the rest of the country, the Conservatives made far more gains than Labour. Perhaps these otherwise altruistic young English and Welsh voters were motivated by financial self-interest?

Student debt and the dysfunctional housing market are the two aspirational issues of greatest concern to many younger voters. As the natural supporters of aspiration, the Conservatives can and must be bold.

They could start by re-evaluating the student loan schemes to ensure that interest rates are more competitive and repayment arrangements are as flexible as possible. They should also abolish stamp duty and effect a wholesale dismantling of current planning regulations to kickstart a mass house-building programme which meets current need where it is identified by the market rather than by outdated town-hall diktat.

Sally Grossart
Edinburgh

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