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Take action against the student loan book privatisation

WillettsStudents have declared next week a “week of action” against the proposed privatisation of the student loan book. On Friday 18th October, students will gather outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to protest the plans, which have worrying implications for students past, present and future.

An Early Day Motion (no. 542) has been launched in Parliament, spearheaded by a number of left-wing MPs working with students, who are concerned that “in order to make the student loan book profitable for private companies, [the privatisation] would need to be accompanied by either subsidies from the taxpayer or an increase in the financial burden placed on graduates.” The Student Assembly Against Austerity has designed a helpful tool for lobbying MPs to sign up to the motion – just put in your postcode, change the message if you so please, and you can send off an email to your MP on the subject.

A number of actions will take place across the country next week. On Wednesday 16th October, students in North London will meet at the University of London Union while students in Aberdeen will hold a public meeting on the implications of the privatisation at 5.30pm this evening before taking further action next week. Actions are also planned in Birmingham. Other actions are likely to be planned in the next few days – organisers should email the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts at againstfeesandcuts@gmail.com

Last week, the “moderate” leadership of the National Union of Students declared a victory on the issue of the student loan privatisation, saying they had received a number of assurances from universities minister David Willetts on shielding students from the worst of the potential implications of privatisation. Yet activists on the left of the organisation have questioned whether this is cause for satisfaction, in an age when “we know that government promises mean nothing”.

In an article on the NCAFC website, University of Birmingham student Simon Furse argues that “rather than doing any real campaigning about the debt sell off, the NUS simply tell us that everything will basically be fine because they have had a private meeting with a minister, and he has repeated a three month old press release.”

He goes on to say: “The protection that we have against attacks on the conditions of our loans is not NUS bureaucrats sitting in meetings with David Willetts; it is the political power of the student movement on the streets.” We agree, so whether you’re a student or not, see what you can do to help fight this very worrying development next week, and lobby your MP to do the same.

One Comment

  1. Norrette says:

    Once in the hands of the banks (which I expect it might be) then they will charge whatever interest they felt like. In 2007 Brown thought he might raise £6Bn from such a plan – and that was before the cap was lifted.

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