Home > Labour, Uncategorized > Ed Miliband Needs To Stop Playing Behavioural Politics With University Funding!

Ed Miliband Needs To Stop Playing Behavioural Politics With University Funding!


Ed Miliband announced yesterday that if he were to win a general election tomorrow that he would reduce tuition fees to £6k p.a. from the proposed £9k. His proposals don’t actually affect the repayment scheme so people from less well-off backgrounds will end up paying the same as they do under the government’s new scheme. It does benefit the graduates who earn the most though as they don’t have to pay back as much.

Stephen Tall over at Lib Dem Voice has explained the differences between the governments proposals and Ed’s proposals.

From a behavioural political point of view – Ed has played a blinder.

Behavioural politics uses psychology to determine how the public reacts to policies and politics. Any psychologist would tell you that if your introducing a new university funding scheme then you do not raise the figure that people have to pay. It will put people off (its even worse if your going from free to a cost) – it doesn’t matter how fair or progressive the re-payment scheme is. People will latch on to the price as if their life depends on it.

In a blind test of the current repayment scheme and the scheme from 2012/2013, I would say that the majority of people would choose the new scheme over the current scheme. Most people would come to see the fees as a graduate tax.

The £9k p.a. or in Ed M’s policy case of £6k p.a. people are using the price tag to calculate whether University is worth going to or not. We, the people are putting a market into higher education because we know how much a course costs. Its easier for us to use the £9k as the figure because its the only concrete figure we know.

Those people who don’t think a University degree is worth £9k will be put off attending University. Poorer people will be put off as they won’t think they’ll be able to afford it.

Ed M then saying he would reduce the cap is a good move politically for him as it makes people believe that he is more on their side than the current coalition parties are. Even if policy wise its a dumb move because it doesn’t help anyone but the top earning graduates.

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Categories: Labour, Uncategorized
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