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Tuition fees could soon be reduced – but not by enough to make this student any less lonely (he must be rich) [Image: Getty Images].

At first sight, this means the Conservatives are running scared and Labour is dictating Parliamentary policy.

Labour won a vote in the Commons last week, for student tuition fees to be abolished, after all.

But there is a huge difference between abolition of fees and a cut of one-sixth (on the current rate of £9,000; the extra £250 was set to be imposed in the coming term, I believe).

The simple fact is that – for many young people of limited means – £7,500 a year is just as discouraging as £9,000, or £9,250. They’re still likely never to be able to pay it back.

So it’s pointless.

But the Tories can point to it and say they’re doing something – when in fact they aren’t.

The amount of revenue received as a result of levying the fees is unlikely to change hugely in any case. As most students never earn enough to pay back the £57,000 or thereabouts that they owe by the end of their college courses, the only cash generated is via interest payments, which are made at an extortionate six per cent rate.

With the level of fees still discouraging many, the number meeting those interest payments is unlikely to change greatly from the current level. It’s still a nice little earner for whoever runs the system, though!

Cuts to tuition fees that would save students at least £5,000 over a three year course are being considered by the Chancellor, it has been reported.

Philip Hammond is looking at capping annual charges at £7,500 instead of the current level of £9,250, according to The Sunday Times.

The reported move comes amid concern from Conservatives about their low support base among young people, who voted for Labour in huge numbers in the June election.

The government has come under intense pressure to ease the burden of student finances after warnings that most graduates will never clear their debts.

Read more: Tuition fees could be ‘slashed to £7,500’ a year under Government plans, report says

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