Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why is Simon Hughes' new appointment only for six months?

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

I'm really pleased to see that Simon Hughes has been given the job of making sure that young people aren't being put off from going into higher education after the tuition fees decision. It's been shocking to see the nursery for Labour wannabes, the National Union of Students, try to write off the hopes of a generation by implying that no poor person will be able to afford to go to university, when actually graduates on the lowest incomes will pay less under this scheme than they will under the NUS proposals.

Linda Jack, who has been one of fiercest party critics of the Coalition in general and the tuition fees policy in particular, and who works with young people has welcomed Simon's appointment and explained why it's vital.

My only real query is why is this only for six months? Surely that role is going to be needed for much longer. For this year, kids are filling in their UCAS forms now for 2011 entry and he should be continuing his tour of schools into the Autumn term this year as the 2012 students will be the first to go in under the new system.

I am particularly comforted that one of Simon's main jobs will be finding a more effective replacement for Education Maintenance Allowance. The issue with it is how kids who currently leave at 16 can be encouraged to stay on at school. The current EMA goes mainly to kids who would have stayed on anyway.

So, as I said, it's fabulous that this unpaid role has been created, and I think Simon is the ideal guy for it, but why only six months? It just doesn't seem long enough.


cynicalHighlander said...

That's all the time left for this ConDem government with inflation, vat, unemployment, interest rates all on the increase they will have to call in the receivers in an insolvent UKplc.

Linda Jack said...

Caron, as ever, you are absolutely right! It absolutely must be for longer and it must have a wider remit. Poor old Simon is being bombarded by me with issues about tuition fees (Student Loan Company - what a disaster!), EMA and all the other issues which impact on a young person's ability to participate in education. As you say he is the right person for the job. I had the privilege of chairing a Q&A with him at an FE college in Liverpool while we were at conference - how he engaged that audience was a masterclass - even for me who has spent most of my adult life working with young people!

And as for cynicalHighlander - what is your solution??? I may not support the coalition but I am sick to death of those who criticise without a viable alternative.

Anyways, hope to be in Scotland towards the end of January and maybe catch up! Burns night anywhere???

cynicalHighlander said...

Linda Jack

"And as for cynicalHighlander - what is your solution??? I may not support the coalition but I am sick to death of those who criticise without a viable alternative."

My solution is Independence for Scotland as it has been for over 40 years.

Secret plot to undermine SNP claims revealed

Scotland has been lied to for generations by unionist politicians and if you wish to be one of them then you will have to take the resentment that we feel.

Liberals used to be just that but power corrupts and none more than over the last 7 months with the liberal party who like to get their snouts into the westminster trough with their ministerial cars.

Rather than come on high handed maybe you could give us some reason to cling to a bankrupt UK as to going in a different direction without WMDs and a disasterous nuclear energy fiasco.

A short list of benefits if they can be conjured up will be appreciated. slainte.


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