Aspiring lawyers slam plans for graduate tax

Law students have lambasted the Coalition Government’s plans to make graduates who go on to become big earners pay a premium for their education.

Under the plans, which could be rolled out as early as September 2011, repayment and interest rates would rise with income and students could also be forced to keep making payments even after they have paid off their loan.

Such a device would effectively raise tuition costs for graduates who go on to earn the most.

University of Kent’s law society president Zainul Jussab said: “I’m heavily against this because it’s outrageous that those who work hard to get a well paid job should be penalised for it. The whole thing is very sneaky on the Government’s part.”

But officials have stressed proposals would not be a graduate tax, because the cash collected would belong to the universities, not to the Treasury.

Leicester University’s law society president Roy Magara said: “Whatever they’re calling it, the graduate tax is like taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Opinion will obviously differ depending on the degree course people are studying but lawyers will ultimately be one of the professions that’ll end up paying more.”

Meanwhile, Lord Browne of Madingley, the former head of BP, is spearheading a review of student finance with a report expected to be published in the coming weeks.

But an early draft of the review has suggested that he is not convinced by the idea of a tax collected from graduates after they have left university.

Instead, it has been reported that he will reject a graduate tax in favour of letting universities raise tuition fees to £7,000.

Vice president of Essex University’s law society Augustine Chipungu said: “With the graduate tax system, people would end up paying substantially more than if the whole system were privatised. Tax impinges on freedom of choice – it’s against liberty.”