Student finance goes nationalist in a four-way UK split. Can it last?

So devolution looks like producing four different solutions to the problems of student funding, at least in the short term. The latest from Scotland is to charge strangers from the rest of UK so that young Scots can continue to enjoy a no fees regime in their native land.

The money follows Welsh students anywhere in the UK, as Dewi celebrates and recommends NI follow. Iain McWhirter may be right, that the SNP may take a political trick with this but I just don’t believe that some of the  the poorer parts of the UK can hold out against charging their own on the long run, although perhaps on a lower tariff than the proposed English levels.

Alex Salmond’s economic advisers are surely right. This may be the students’ hour but just wait for louder calls on the public purse as unemployment climbs higher and the squeeze on social care grips tighter.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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