In response to political candidates signing the NUS pledge, Mark Littlewood, IEA Director General said:
The NUS tuition fee pledge is unrealistic and unfair. We need to be reasonable about the costs involved in education. Higher education is already heavily subsidised and with the size of the UKs deficit we cannot afford to increase these subsidies. Those going to university are increasing their earning potential in the longer term, by around £100,000, and should be willing to pay something towards the cost of this.
At a time when severe cuts are needed it is extraordinary to see so many political candidates willing to sign up to a pledge that is effectively a middle class tax break.
There are problems with how universities are currently funded. But these should be addressed by giving universities the ability to charge different amounts and by allowing more flexible payment methods, for example allowing payment through de