More English sponging…or Welsh taxpayers invest in English Universities….

OK the UK Goverment have:
1) Scrapped the Severn Barrage (£30bn.)
2) Scrapped St Athan’s Defence Academy (£14bn)
3) Delayed Great Western Electrification in Wales (£1bn)
4) Closed Newport Passport Office…300 jobs gone.
5) Cut S4C funding by £20m p.a.

We, on the other hand, have decided to subsidise English Universities by up to £110m p.a.. We are a kind and appreciative nation I know…..but this can’t be sensible.

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  • “…decided to subsidise English Universities by up to £110m p.a”

    For those unversed in the intricacies of nat-speak, that is a direct translation of:

    “The education minister has said that it will cost the assembly government up to £110m to support the 16,000 Welsh domiciled students who choose to study in English universities each year when the fee increases occur”

    So, Dewi Welsh taxpayers paying for Welsh students’ education, what exactly is your problem?
    Merely the fact that you wish Welsh people wouldn’t study in England?

  • It is one thing to complain about the UK Government scrapping projects. It is quite another to call it “English sponging” The English taxpayer subsidises Wales, so I have asked myself, what is the purpose of such a fallacious remark?

    It is to engender English, anti-Welsh, sentiment. Come on Dewi. That is an Alex Salmond tactic. It doesn’t work.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    how exactly is Welsh domiciled defined?

    Presumably excludes those spending a gap year in Wales from over the border?

    Cant see how the Englezes, tolerant as they are, will put up with this (West Lampeter) nonsense of Welsh MPs voting on (higher) fees for England and Welsh AMs voting on (lower) fees in Wales.

    ps It does let the Welsh LibDems off the hook of their very embarassing uturn.

  • dewi

    “Merely the fact that you wish Welsh people wouldn’t study in England?”
    Don’t mind where Welsh people study, China, Brazil, England or Peru it’s fine by me. But we don’t subsidise Brazilian universities but now do so English. In these testing economic climes that seems foolish.
    “The English taxpayer subsidises Wales”. You are good with “facts” Seymour. There’s a fair bit more detail to this so-called English subsidy than meets the eye.

  • Bob wilson

    Dewi all this just to begin to undo the damage done by Labour – including many Welsh Labour MPs

  • “Don’t mind where Welsh people study, China, Brazil, England or Peru it’s fine by me.’

    How very liberal of you.

    But, as I pointed out in my original comment, it’s more the deliberate and erroneous anglophobic headline which disturbed me. “You’ are not subsidising English universities, you are “subsidising” Welsh students to attend English universities; slightly different emphasis don’t you think?

    But OK, what’s your solution then; remove their funding? Does the example employed in this case sit more comfortably with your political views?

    http://tinyurl.com/33s5cs4

  • Anon

    Oneill

    Give it up, it’s a stupid policy. Most of the people who go will not come back. The Welsh Assembly would be far better off incentivising people to come to Wales, rather than leave it. If they don’t want to attract in English studets, they should be incentivising their own brightest to stay.

  • “You are good with “facts” Seymour.”

    I believe that is a reference to a mistake that I made on another thread yesterday, which I did, of course, later correct.

    Sticking with facts, Dewi, that it is disingenuous to suggest that English Universities are being subsidised when the discussion is really about subsidising Welsh students.

  • Dewi

    ““You’ are not subsidising English universities, you are “subsidising” Welsh students to attend English universities; slightly different emphasis don’t you think?

    But OK, what’s your solution then; remove their funding? Does the example employed in this case sit more comfortably with your political views?”

    Remove the funding in England so that more of the Welsh students would study at home thus directing a £100m (annual) boost to the Higher Education sector in Wales. I’d keep £10m for a scholarsip system for excellence to Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge etc. Makes perfect sense to me.

  • Dewi

    “Sticking with facts, Dewi, that it is disingenuous to suggest that English Universities are being subsidised when the discussion is really about subsidising Welsh students”

    Not at all – this is a £100m investment in English Universities that should be directed to Welsh Universities.

  • Dewi

    As to the Example quoted O’Neill. From your link:

    “But an Assembly Government spokeswoman said: “To be eligible for entry on to an apprenticeship a learner must be employed and either be resident in Wales, or their employment or work placement must be located in Wales.

    “This means that an individual who is both resident and training in Wales could be eligible for an apprenticeship programme even if their employer is based in England.””

    Again – perhaps a little more (or less) there than meets the eye.

  • Cynic

    If the Welsh Assembly is rich enough to spend £100m in this way perhaps it is over funded (by the English)?

  • Dewi

    “If the Welsh Assembly is rich enough to spend £100m in this way perhaps it is over funded (by the English)?”

    Well – we seem to able to afford £8bn Capital investment in transport in England. Perhaps we are over subsidising England?

    http://www.politics.co.uk/news/transport/-8bn-rail-investment-announced-$21385866.htm

  • Draig

    Dewi,

    You forgot to mentions the subsidisation of English council tenants by Welsh council tenants (despite the fact that welsh council tenants, especially in the Valleys live in the poorest areas of Western Europe).

    You also forgot the Welsh subsidy of English water companies (and hence users) through the sleight of hand that is “Severn Trent Water”.

    You forgot the Welsh subsidy of English electricity users – we export electricity yet we have amongst the highest electricity bills in the UK.

    There’s an easy way to prove whose subsidising who – let’s turn off the electrical supply and see who’s lights go out…:-)

  • Jay

    Huge outpouring of money from England to Wales every year, yet when the belt gets tightened and the outpouring becomes a little less England become spongers?

    My head is sore.
    Where were your articles pre-cuts calling the Welsh.N.Irish and Scots all spongers?

    This kind of nonsense makes your case and point seem childish.

  • Dewi

    “Huge outpouring of money from England to Wales every year”

    Quantify please Jay – it seems like the other way round to me.

  • [Anchor tabs are appearing oddly in the preview. Hence the lack of embedded codes.]

    Go to:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_GDP_per_capita_in_the_UK_in_2007_(NUTS_3).svg

    Now draw conclusions about who has the gelt, who hasn’t, and why there needs to be a redistribution of moolah.

    A further consideration is that Welsh universities have been over-successful in attracting students. Next year, for the first time numbers will be capped:

    On average the number of applications to Welsh universities is up 15% on last year.

    Swansea Metropolitan University reports a 33% increase, while Glyndwr University in Wrexham says applications are up 31%.

    Universities are also predicting that far fewer places will be offered through the clearing system this year.

    [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10585804]

    Dewi may be trailing his coat here (and the usual suspects inevitably snap at it); but there are serious points to address. I would suggest they include:
    1. There is a need to rationalise (not necessarily “reduce”) student places across the country. At the moment the biggest regional shortfall is in Northern Ireland, the equivalent of about half a university.
    2. There may be a postcode lottery in health; but it is far, far worse in higher education.
    3. After more than a century (consider Straker, the Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman from 1903, to get a whiff of where we should have been going) the UK is still flannelling around over the perceived hierarchy of “academic” and “technical” disciplines.
    4. At least the previous government had a general “take” on education: they were for it, and put long-overdue squoodles of public money in its direction. The present lot are intent on salami-slicing education provision and finance: within hours of the ConDem enstoolment, Gove and his minions were directing millions of previously-committed funds to their pet untried, untested, invalid vanity projects.

    If the Welsh Assembly has the spare to invest in everybody’s future pension, through skilling the next generation who will be paying for it, good luck to them. Bad cess to anyone to cannot see that the UK has no future as an underskilled, underperforming screwdriver-economy.

  • perfidious albion

    Calm down lads, it’s just another example of Welsh racist commentary!! Imagine the PC fuss if the subject had been Poland or Nigeria.

  • “Remove the funding in England so that more of the Welsh students would study at home thus directing a £100m (annual) boost to the Higher Education sector in Wales.”

    Fulfilling, just along the way, a nationalist (of distinctly anglophobic variety) wet dream : forcing Welsh students out of English universities.

  • Anon

    oneill

    The Welsh ssem,bly exists to care about Wales. It’s better for Wales it keeps its brightest. Whether or not that is a “nationalist wet dram” is neither here nor there.

  • drumlins rock

    Anon, it is better for Wales to see its students getting the best education, and then ensuring the best jobs for them are in Wales.

  • “It’s better for Wales it keeps its brightest.”

    “Anon”

    Whilst a certain strand of Welsh nationalism has a knee-jerk antipathy to anything connected with England, the fact remains that it is the country conveniently next door and its universities may offer better educational opportunities for Welsh students.

    It’s not your place in a democracy on narrow ideological grounds to deny them that opportunity.

  • barnshee

    1 Identify the” tax take” from Wales (add Scotland and N Ireland as required)

    2 Send this amount to each regional assembly

    3 Tell them to fuck off and raise any extra money they want themselves

    4 Build/man internal frontiers to keep out the “refugees” from the AFM areas

  • Dewi

    “Whilst a certain strand of Welsh nationalism has a knee-jerk antipathy to anything connected with England, the fact remains that it is the country conveniently next door and its universities may offer better educational opportunities for Welsh students.

    It’s not your place in a democracy on narrow ideological grounds to deny them that opportunity.”

    1) No antipathy at all – I’m an anglophile – I love that stiff upper lip David Niven stuff.
    2) Better educational opportunities maybe – let’s use the £100m p.a to create more excellent educational opportunities in this country.
    3) Governments are supposed to work in their country’s interests. I can’t see how subsidising another country’s educational system is in Wales’s interests. £100m a year would create thousands of jobs in the sector. Narrow ideology? Not really – it’s what Governments do.

  • Dewi

    “Calm down lads, it’s just another example of Welsh racist commentary!! ”

    Sorry – where?

  • Dewi

    AFM?

  • Those incapable of appreciating Dewi‘s point here (at least as far as it refers to Higher Education) might address themselves to the leader in this week’s New Statesman.

    It’s freely available on line. For those too bone-idle to follow a hot-link, or reluctant to have their purblind prejudices disturbed by new ideas, here’s what I see as the key bit:

    … the most eye-catching figure in the OBR document was the estimated £6bn Budget surplus that the government will enjoy by 2015. This apparent piece of favourable news was left unmentioned by Mr Osborne. And with good reason. The projected Budget surplus gives the lie to his claim that the “cupboard is bare”. Nowhere is this truer than in the area of higher education.

    In an article for the London Evening Standard on 30 November, David Cameron echoed his Chancellor and claimed that the coalition’s decision to increase university tuition fees was “unavoidable”. But as the sixth-largest economy in the world, Britain can easily afford to fund free higher education through general taxation. The UK spends just 0.7 per cent of its GDP on higher education. Compare this to France (1.2 per cent), Germany (0.9 per cent), Canada (1.5 per cent), Poland (0.9 per cent) and Sweden (1.4 per cent). Even the US, where students make a considerable private contribution, spends 1 per cent of its GDP on higher education.

    The decision to triple tuition fees is, therefore, a political choice, not an economic necessity. Little wonder that the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, lamented that Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne “had a tendency to think about issues only in terms of politics, and how they might affect Tory electorability”.

    In short, the devolved Assemblies take education and “the knowledge economy” seriously in a way that this ConDem coalition apparently cannot.

  • oneill

    Dewi,

    My comment was addressed at “Anon”, are you one and the same?

    The rest of your “argument” would carry more weight if Wales had separated from the rest of the United Kingdom. To date, due to the will of the Welsh people, you haven’t.

  • Dewi,

    My last comment was addressed at “Anon”, are you one and the same?

    The rest of your “argument” would carry more weight if Wales had separated from the rest of the United Kingdom. To date, due to the will of the Welsh people, you haven’t.

  • oneill

    Dewi,

    My last comment was addressed at “Anon”, are you one and the same?

    The rest of your “argument” would carry more weight if Wales had separated from the rest of the United Kingdom. To date, due to the will of the Welsh people, you haven’t

  • dewi

    “My last comment was addressed at “Anon”, are you one and the same”
    No – sorry – although anon seems a sensible bloke..
    2) ….bring it on…

  • 2) Oh yes, can’t wait.

    BTW is this true?

    (http://cardiffblogger.co.uk/?p=983)

    “However, as a backlash to the fee increases, the Plaid-Labour governing Welsh Assembly are allowing universities to charge £9000 per person a year – and they’ll subsidise students so they won’t pay the extra £6k!

    However, not all students.

    Those who will be subsidised must meet a set of rather anti-English criteria:

    1. Welsh? Excellent, you’ll be subsidised, even if you study in England.
    2. From an EU country other than England and studying in Wales? Excellent, you’ll also be subsidised.
    3. English but studying in a Welsh university? Sorry, no can do. But we’ll give a full subsidy to any student from Eastern Europe who is far more welcome than a teenager from Tunbridge Wells”

    So, the WAG will subsidise any student from an EU country, with the exception of England, to study at a Welsh university?

    Curiously, a rather relevant point that you seem to have forgotten to include in your post about English spongers… want to run through the thinking behind the policy?

  • Dewi

    hmmm O Neill I thought it was me who was critical of the the policy.
    I think it should apply to all students studying in Wales regardless of nationality. How’s that?

  • Dewi

    Oh but cap the fees at about £6k.

  • hmmm…it was you who “forgot” to mention this rather important element of the policy when you engaged in your bout of anti-English hysteria at the beginning.

    Did you not think it was relevant?

  • Dewi

    “bout of anti-English hysteria???” where? if you mean “More English sponging” surely the historic irony is not lost on you of all people.

    To be fair to the WAG it’s the way things work – in the UK it’s the UK government that decide policy for English domiciled students. I repeat I think the plan is economic stupidity – and as for injustice – English students paying more than Welsh students….in English universities!!! Now that really ain’t fair.

  • Dewi @ 11:51 am and others:

    If access to and involvement in Higher Education is to be “fair”, it is necessary to eliminate the “unfairness” of differential social backgrounds.

    That exists in two forms:

    1. Four public schools send 100 students each year to Cambridge, and 45% of Cambridge students come from the 6.5% privately-educated.

    By the same token, in 2007 30,000 achieved three A-levels: just 176 came from those eligible for free school meals. There’s one talent resource lost already.

    2. Obviously, some potential students will be deterred by the hike in tuition fees. Those from public-school and privileged backgrounds will not. Perhaps (if we believe the ConDem self-exculpation) the few at the other end of the wealth-spectrum, like those 176, may not. The further loss of talent will be in between, from that “squeezed middle”.

    I’ve drawn attention in a previous post on this thread to the searing truth that Wales (like too much of the periphery of the Saxo-Norman Empire) is low-income, low-prospects, low-value. The Scottish and Welsh Assemblies see a need to use public monies to redress that differential, at least in health and education; and good luck to them.

    What the nay-sayers need to answer is whether poverty and intellectual capacity are inherently linked (as in “Why was I the first Kinnock/Redfellow in a thousand generations to go to University?”).

    Once that conundrum is decided in the obvious negative, why it is unfair to reclaim the cost of all education from general taxation? After all, if the tax system is not regressive, it ought to work “from each according to ability, to each according to need”. In my book, education and its benefits to general society and the economy are a need.

    An afterthought:

    When the UK was in a far, far more parlous condition that today, in the aftermath of the Second World War, all sides agreed with the principles of the Butler Education Acts. For any flaws therein, the result was free education to any who could show they would benefit, to any level.

    The consequences were that the UK went in a single generation, the second industrial revolution, from being a primary producer (agriculture, coal, iron …) and a metal-bashing manufactory to a tertiary and quaternary economy: all those service and other industries on which growth has come in the last three or four decades.

    Now that we need to leap into a further culture-change, as a body politic we have lost the ambition, the motivation and the will.

  • Dewi,

    “…if you mean “More English sponging” surely the historic irony is not lost on you of all people.”

    I am not sure I know what you’re getting at there. I do attempt irony occasionally in my own postings but in doing so, I’d always leave no room for doubt in case readers believe I’m being xenophobic or bigotted against a particular group of people- in that regard, let me introduce you to the “inverted comma”, a very useful tool to avoid all possible misunderstandings.

    “To be fair to the WAG it’s the way things work – in the UK it’s the UK government that decide policy for English domiciled students.”

    If I understand the comment correctly from Cardiff Blogger, it is the WAG, not the UK government who decides which group of students studying at Welsh universities are subsidised?

    That being the case, the whole premise for your post is then sunk without trace: ie whilst it could be argued (tenuously) that Welsh taxpayers are “subsidising English Universitie”s, the situation is compensated by the fact that English students (unlike others from within the EU) have to pay full fees to study in Wales.

  • Dewi

    “If I understand the comment correctly from Cardiff Blogger, it is the WAG, not the UK government who decides which group of students studying at Welsh universities are subsidised?”

    Sorry for the delay in replying…been doing some digging. Cardiff blogger is wrong – it’s the domicile that determines the subsidy for UK domiciled students. It’s a bit of a strange situation – my Assembly contacts think it might be illegal not to subsidise Welsh students studying in England if we subsidise those in Wales.
    I think it’s nonsense that Welsh students will be able to study in England for a third of the cost of English students – and the economic nonsense of the decision makes no sense at all to the Welsh economy.
    Xenophobic and bigotted?? That’s way OTT…