Debt-management was a central theme of David Cameron’s party conference speech today, but the Prime Minister’s approach seemed at odds with the Coalition’s message on university tuition fees.
Today Mr Cameron said: ”The only way out of a debt crisis is to deal with your debts. That means households – all of us – are paying off the credit card and store card bills.”
On August 18th Universities and Science Minister David Willetts defended the increase in tuition fees being introduced this time next year by saying it would be a better system, because monthly repayments would be smaller and “smoothed out” over a longer period of time.
If you listen to an interview from Radio 4′s Today programme on that day you will hear Evan Davis pressing the minister to concede that students would face higher levels of debt.
At one point Evan Davis says: “No financial salesman selling mortgages could get away with trying to proffer a huge mortgage on the basis that monthly repayments were actually lower.”
Students who start three year degrees in 2012 will be coming to the end of their courses in 2015 when the next election is due to take place.
Perhaps by then those graduates will have had time to reflect on whether government assurances on study-now-pay-later tuition fees prove to be based on the principles of sound financial household management espoused by the Prime Minister today.