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Our response to George Osborne's 'Next Generation Budget'

Wednesday 16-03-2016 - 16:12

We believe the chancellor’s promise of a budget for ‘the next generation’ is a lie.

Today's budget a continuation of a regressive agenda that disadvantages students, one that fails to account for the detrimental changes forced on young people in previous budgets and ignores the real problems students are facing.

George Osborne made his budget speech in parliament this afternoon (March 16). NUS strongly disagrees with Osborne’s claim that this is a ‘budget for the next generation’.

Previously, the government has removed the Education Maintenance Allowances, scrapped maintenance grants and introduced a repayment hike for student loans. Today’s budget does not contain any respite for young people who have been hit hardest by the previous changes.

Key education announcements include:

  • Doctoral loans – From 2018-19, the government will introduce doctoral loans of up to £25,000 to any English student who can win a place at a UK university but doesn’t receive a research council living allowance.
  • Master’s loans – The government will extend the eligibility of master’s loans to include three-year part-time courses with no full-time equivalent.
  • Lifetime learning – The government will review gaps in support for lifetime learning, including for flexible and part-time study.
  • Apprenticeship levy – As announced at Autumn Statement and Spending Review 2015, the government will introduce the apprenticeship levy in April 2017.
  • Savings – The government is increasing the ISA limit to £20,000 and launching a new flexible Lifetime ISA for under 40s.

Megan Dunn, NUS national president, said:

“George Osborne repeatedly referred to this budget as putting the next generation first. But the government has failed to take into account the outcomes of its own regressive policies.

“Dressed-up offers like the Lifetime ISA are too little too late – thousands of students and graduates are worrying about how they will afford to eat day-to-day rather than whether to save for a house or put money into a pension.

“While George Osborne’s promises might sound appealing, his words do not make up for his actions. The government has forced cut after cut onto students who are already struggling to get by. If the chancellor truly wants to help young people, he could start by reversing his own damaging decisions.”

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