Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons am 11:30 am ar 6 Ebrill 2005.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister 11:30, 6 Ebrill 2005

Of course, there are now going to be no fees paid at all when someone goes through university. What is more, the repayment that will be made by people once they graduate will be linked to their ability to pay. There will be no real rate of interest on that loan and there will be special help with the reintroduced maintenance grant for the poorest people. Of course, we believe that we have to get more money into our university system—I think that the right hon. Gentleman does as well—but I do not think that his proposal to take that money out of general taxation by a 50 per cent. top rate of tax is something that will recommend itself to people. It is a proposal that in my view would not raise the money that he thinks it would raise. In any event, it would not be a fair use of resources.

On education, I would just remind the right hon. Gentleman that this country is now investing more each year as a proportion of our national income on education—in Sure Start, nursery education, primary schools, secondary schools, and, yes, universities, and for those taking skills courses as well. I think that we can be very proud of our record in education, but it is true that we have to modernise our system continually to keep up with the new world in which we live.