John Denham MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, responding to the Government’s announcement that student loans of up to £6000, and maintenance awards, would be made available to students at unregulated private colleges from 2012-13, said:
“Incompetent Ministers are making up fees policy as they go along. Limited support has been available to designated private courses for many years. But David Willetts is clearly threatening public universities with cut price competition from the private sector who do not need to meet the requirements of any regulator, or meet access criteria.
“The Tory-led Government have already reduced student numbers by 20,000. This will further reduce the chances of students going to the university of their choice.
“Any discussion of new providers and ways of delivering higher education need to be considered in the context of a strategy for public and private institutions. It is a disgrace that the Conservative-led Government have yet to publish a Higher Education White Paper even though one was promised months ago. Instead they are revealing their policy in dribs and drabs, making it up as they go along.”