Scrapping student fees on withdrawal – an appeal to younger voters?

We need to engage younger voters in the referendum on leaving the EU. One argument which may appeal is that taking the EFTA option would allow us to scrap student fees.

Firstly, for the benefit of those who are not aware of EFTA, is is the European Free Trade Association (See  www.efta.int.)  Norway is a member of EFTA and is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe.  The majority of its electorate do not want to join the EU.

EFTA countries have an economic agreement with the EU, allowing for free movement of goods, services, people and capital. However Liechtenstein has ‘special provisions’ for controlling immigration, far more powerful than the feeble “Emergency Brake” which David Cameron needs to ask permission to apply.

But what are the issues for younger people and students?

Lower income – poor job opportunities and downward pressure on wages from immigration

Middle income – high rents and house prices, making it difficult to save for a deposit, due to immigration demand on housing, also downward pressure on wages from immigration and also student loans to pay off.

In 2014, the UK paid a net £11 billion to the EU. Norway does not pay to be part of the Single Market, it diverts some of its foreign aid to the EU – something the UK could also do, and use the £11 billion savings for getting rid of student tuition fees and also outstanding student tuition fees.

At the end of 2014-15 there were 4.6m borrowers with outstanding student loans, with a total debt of £64.7 billion. So with £11 billion to spend in the UK, that would allow, all loans to be paid off in 7 years.

Maintenance loans could be worked out using the minimum wage for the weeks studying and not working. For example £7.20 per hour * 35 hours in a week = £252 per week

Average weeks studying, winter 10 weeks, Spring 10 weeks, summer 8 weeks = 28 weeks

28 weeks * £252 = £7056

For 3 years is, £7056 * 3 = £21168

Perhaps the after tax amount could be calculated and also an expectation that students have some sort of part time job during studying time. I.e. working out the amount using 25 or 30 hours a week.

There are other ways to speed up the paying off of all outstanding student loans, by reviewing how easy it is for new immigrant to access benefits, for example needing to contribute for 5 years, or only receiving the amounts they would get in their own country.

Current benefits to EU immigrants include: Housing benefit, tax credits and unemployment benefit of £2.5 billion – a significant amount. With more immigration, this amount could increase even more. If other people in other EU countries avoid paying their taxes and vote for corrupt, irresponsible and incompetent politicians, there is no reason for the UK taxpayer to be held financially responsible.

Some studies have shown that every person unemployed costs the taxpayers around £10,000 in benefits and lost tax revenue. So if the UK had Norway’s and Switzerland’s average unemployment rate of around 4% instead of 5.1%, that would be around 1.36 million, instead of 1.7 million, an extra 340,000 paying tax, or another £3.4 bn. If the UK had 3% unemployment, this could add another £6.8bn.

All helping pay off outstanding student debt faster.

Free Student tuition and maintenance grants, calculation

250,000 students with £35,000 debt = approx £9 bn

Current outstanding student loans = £64.7 bn

Savings from leaving the EU and switching to a win-win EFTA Single Market + Opt Outs agreement

Current net EU contribution = £11bn a year

Cost of projects due to higher population HS2 = £42.6bn

Cost of projects due to higher population, Hinkley point nuclear power subsidy potential = £20bn

Since the foreign aid budget is set to increase from £11bn to £16bn by 2020, this extra money could be used for any aid projects in Eastern Europe.

Likely the fastest way to increase the paying off loans is by having a trade balance, and so an increase in tax revenues. Leaving the EU and joining EFTA is the easiest and fastest way. Increasing average income to Norway’s level would also help i.e. £ 36,000 compared to the UK of £24,000. Younger voters and undecideds voting to Leave the EU would be voicing their emancipation proclamation, freeing themselves from financial serfdom.

Since the UK also has a trade deficit with the EU, which means loss of jobs and loss of company sales, then a trade balance will help in increasing government revenues from more: income tax, corporation tax, VAT, council tax, fuel duty, business rates and other taxes. So allowing the student loans to be paid off, and restore free higher education, as before the UK switched to the EU, from the EEC. The reduction in regulations would also be like a tax cut for businesses, helping making it easier to grow their businesses. In addition the hidden cost affecting the public sector of the EU style of top down ideas, centralisation/mergers, poor communication, and low morale would also be lifted allowing better decisions, communication and higher morale.

More University bias

After reporting the appalling bias of Dr Tony Arnold of Birmingham University, we have recently been sent another illustration of the way our universities are trying to manipulate the student vote. Our correspondent has requested anonymity, so the identity of the university in question has been withheld.

In this instance,  the culprit was the Vice Chancellor, no less. “I have been speaking out on the benefits that being part of the EU brings to us,” he wrote. “This view is shared by the national representative body for universities, Universities UK. We take this position because we recognise the enormous value of the partnerships: the free movement of talented students and staff through EU-funded schemes such as Erasmus and the access to the research community and sources of research funding that membership of the EU can offer.”

Then follows some statistics: “More than 125,000 EU students study at UK universities and 15% of academic staff working at UK universities are from other EU countries. This is hugely beneficial nationally to the success of the UK’s knowledge-based economy and to our success as a leading research and teaching institution. It is also invaluable in enabling the creation of the diverse cultural, social and intellectual mix here at the univeristy of Xxxxxx. Here at Xxxxxx, in the past five years, 18% of our research funding has come from European sources and this has supported more than £58 million of research activity here.

This is rather a distortion of the picture. No one is suggesting that withdrawal from the EU means withdrawal from the Erasmus scheme. A quick glance at the flags on the home page of the Erasmus website indicates that several non-EU countries participate.  Why shouldn’t an independent UK continue to support  it too? This also applies to wider co-operation with universites, not just within the EU. Any idea that leaving the EU means that the UK will pull up some sort of academic drawbridge is a caricature of the reality.

What is more to the point is that, as with so many other pro-EU statements, the Vice Chancellor’s statement does not even touch on the EU’s raison d’être. It is a project to create a federal superstate. The benefits (or otherwise) to our universities of EU membership are very secondary issues compared with whether we want the democratic institutions of our nation to be hollowed out and, to quote Ken Clarke, our Westminster Parliament reduced to “just a council chamber in Europe.”

Still considering that the recent government booklet makes no mention of the critical subject of sovereignty, can we be suprised that a leading academic has adopted the same strategy? Europhiles will talk about anything except what the EU project was been designed to do.

Across the Channel, a few people on the Continent are prepared to be honest about the objective of the EU, but such openness looks to be very much the exception here.

A letter from Chris McGovern

CIB members will be receiving a copy of Generations Betrayed by Chris McGovern of the Campaign for Real Education with the next newsletter. Chris recently had this letter published in the Financial Times:

Sir,

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for not joining in the national anthem at the recent Battle of Britain Service. However, the Prime Minister has done the country an even greater disservice. His new National Curriculum for History omits any requirement to teach about either world war, let alone the Battle of Britain.

Chris McGovern

Chairman, Campaign for Real Education

A copy of Chris’s excellent booklet, Generations Betrayed, which illustrates how history teaching has been dumbed down, will be included with the next CIB members’ newsletter,which is due to be posted imminently.

 

Photo by Airwolfhound

No summer holiday for the Government as Lord Stoddart keeps the pressure on

Parliament goes into recess this week but Lord Stoddart of Swindon is keeping the pressure on the Government in regard to its agenda for dealing with the EU, by submitting the written questions below.  We are not sure when the answers will be supplied as the recess means that they are not answered on a daily basis and will appear in a weekly round-up.  We will keep you posted.  Alternatively, you can keep up with the many written questions Lord Stoddart puts to the Government at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenanswers

You might be interested to know that Lord Stoddart was named by the Freedom Association as Parliamentarian of the Week on 3rd July.  Read more about it here.

Written question HL1436: Lord Stoddart of Swindon 14-07-2015

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Asked on: 14 July 2015

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Lords

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to challenge the imposition of a £642 million fine on the United Kingdom relating to the administration of Common Agricultural Policy farm payments; and whether in their negotiations for a return of powers to the United Kingdom they will include the removal of European Union powers to impose financial penalties on Member States.

Written question HL1437: Lord Stoddart of Swindon 14-07-2015

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Asked on: 14 July 2015

Department for Education

Lords

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 16 June (HL521) concerning schools’ compliance with sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996, whether they are aware of campaigns by the European Commission to promote the European Union in primary and secondary schools; and how those educational establishments will provide a balanced treatment of the issue of United Kingdom membership of the European Union.

Yes we can – sell your country, know your history!

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of presenting CIB’s latest booklet, Generations Betrayed, to the Better Off Out group – a meeting of MPs, Lords, think tanks and eurosceptic campaign groups. This excellent booklet, written by Chris McGovern, Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, illustrates how history teaching has been dumbed down in British schools, producing a generation who have left school with a severe lack of knowledge about our past. Those who do not know the history of our country with its great distinctives, says Chris, are harder to win round to supporting withdrawal from the EU.

The presentation led to an interesting discussion and some helpful conversations afterwards. One theme to emerge is that we who are campaigning for “Out” must be unashamed to tell our country’s history to those who don’t know it. “In” supporters are belittling the country that has nurtured them. “Poor little England can’t stand up on its own in the 21st Century. We have to be part of the European project.” What nonsense! (I could use a stronger word, but don’t want to offend my readers’ sensibilities!) A nation with such a great past can look forward to what Owen Paterson described as a “spectacular” future outside the EU. It is so unfortunate that, in an age which is seeing a growing national self-awareness among, for example, the Flemings in Belgium or the Catalans in Spain that patriotism in this country is frowned upon and history is taught from a curriculum devised by people consumed with national self-loathing. As I mentioned to the group yesterday, our history does contain a few blemishes, but the balance overall is of a very positive story. We have far, far less of which to be ashamed in our past than not just (obviously) Germany but also France, Spain and Russia, to name a few others.

Much of the debate in recent weeks has revolved around economic issues and CIB fully recognises the need for an exit strategy which is feasible, watertight and at least economically neutral. The “out” campaign must be realistic, rather than aspirational when it comes to the nitty gritty of the withdrawal process. However, this needs to be set to some very optimistic mood music. It is the supporters of “in” who are the Little Englanders – belittling our abilities, decrying our history, undermining our confidence. Barack Obama may now appear a lame duck president, but he won the 2009 US Presidential election by setting a positive note – “Yes we can.” If we can sell an equally positive vision for the UK on independence as well as convincing the electorate that the sky will not fall in economically, it will be greatly to our advantage. This year is particularly rich in anniversaries – Magna Carta 1215, Agincourt 1415, Waterloo 1815. Has there ever been a better opportunity to harness our past successes to the service of selling our future success to a public who must surely be receptive to a positive vision for our great country?

(Copies of Generations Betrayed can be obtained by contacting CIB at the address on the home page of the website or by e-mailing admin@campaignforanindependentbritain.org.uk. Price is £2 per copy plus postage & packing)

Photo by David Jones

A letter from Lord Tebbit regarding “Generations Betrayed”

From the Rt. Hon the Lord Tebbit CH

Dear Edward,

Thank you for your letter of 16 May and congratulations on becoming Chairman of CIB

First of all I should say how strongly I agree with the theme of Chris McGovern’s excellent booklet
“Generations Betrayed”.

The “blob” is indeed still winning the battle to destroy any sense of  nationhood.

Lest we forget has become “lest we remember”……

One theme which I think we could develop is that the leading proponents of the “Yes” campaign and the
international bankers and multi-national business people have no loyalty to the British people.

Yours

Norman Tebbit