Speech on the Graduate Tax Campaign to the House of Commons

Harry Carter MYP’s Speech to the UK Youth Parliament
A motion in favour of supporting the Graduate Tax Campaign

November 4th 2011, House of Commons:

I propose that the Youth Parliament say no to tuition fees, and yes to graduate tax.

Scared of debt? Done everything possible academically, but fall short financially?

On EMA or income support, but can’t seem to get help to simply afford University?

It has become a stark reality in this country, that young people not only think twice about going to University but dismiss categorically the idea altogether.

The prospect of debt and unemployment is one that for many young people makes University impracticable

In the UK Youth Parliament report access denied – 1 in 3 young people said they wanted to go to University  but were not able to, due to the financial burden that comes with studying and living away from home.

 A figure that is set to skyrocket with proposals by the government to increase university tuition fees to a maximum of £9000 a year.

What’s more, past increases in the Maintenance Grant Threshold were not, and are still not enough to ensure  that everyone who wants to study at University, can

Crippling debt is locking out thousands of young people from their right to education, and their right to a stable, working, future.

The graduate tax in principle provides a safety net for graduates who come out of university and are unable to find a job.

The Higher Education Standards Authority revealed that 28% of UK Graduates were out of work three and a half years after graduation. – that’s over a quarter, that’s over a quarter of graduates

The income threshold for graduate tax would ensure that people in this undesirable situation would pay nothing until they’re in work.

And even better, a person on an average salary of £30 000 would be £37 better off each month.

It could be argued, that the abolition of tuition fees, would benefit young people more

But, contributing to a system that we benefit directly from, is a contribution we must all be willing to make.

The problem with the current system, is that tuition fees are snapped up by the treasury and not used to fund universities directly. In line with a graduate tax would be the formation of an independent body. This organisation would distribute graduate tax revenue directly to universities. This would offer a range of opportunities for Universities to compete globally.

We can hear arguments about the fact that because MPs have had free university education,  they shouldn’t ask us to pay for ours.

But don’t let that be the basis of your decision.

I’m sure the politicians would love to be at the centre of this debate, in the spotlight. But don’t let them be.

It would be naïve quite frankly to not give to something if we will inevitably gain from the service provided.

This is not to create a self-interested business out of education, but is instead to guarantee the same quality of education for everybody. Young person after young person, generation after generation

The simple logic is, that without money, and without resources, what does a university become?

The tax is saying pay the money when you can; no need to accrue masses of debt, and then pay it when you can’t

Is it right to accept fear as a barrier to Education? No

 Is it right to support others who can’t earn, and ask for a little extra from higher earners? Absolutely

 Shouldn’t universities be given the money they deserve? Of course

As a country, it is our duty to educate. As prospective undergraduates it is our right to learn.

Next year, there will be an estimated 9% drop in university applications after a fee rise we were promised would not happen.  SHRUG

This debate is on-going. It is time for us, the UK Youth Parliament to step up

Today, we must show our commitment to every single young person we represent.

Vote for fairness in education, better education and sustained funding for education.  Vote to take action on this campaign


About HarryCarter

I'm Harry Carter and I represent young people as a Member of the UK Youth Parliament. I'm a young social activist, and I'm working to create a fairer, more supportive and more involved society.
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