What Brexit means for your finances in 2017

In June 2016, the day after the European Union referendum vote, I wrote an instant first impressions news analysis guide on what Brexit is likely to mean for your finances. Now for the start of 2017, I’m braving revisiting that guide – in the form of this blog, to see how well it stacks up and what...

Autumn Statement Submission 1: Unfreeze the student loan repayment threshold, stop the retrospective hike

On 23 November the new Chancellor Phillip Hammond, will present his first Autumn Statement – it’s likely to contain a range of major policy announcements. As always the Treasury has invited submissions, and this year MSE and I felt it was time to take them up on the offer – we’ve submitted two. Here’s the first (the second...

Dear Jo Johnson: Minister, it’s time to tell parents the truth about what you expect them to pay towards university costs

Parents of students starting university in England in 2016, are facing a hidden 27% rise in university costs. We’ve been working on this for a few weeks, and as part of our campaign for a more transparent system of student finance, I have today sent an open letter to Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities, asking for him...

Panicked about interest on your student loan statement? For many it’s nonsense!

You graduate from uni, ready to face the world – check your student loan statement online and discover £150 a month interest is being added. It’s a frightening prospect. However, for many people this statement and the interest added is irrelevant and may as well be ignored. I’ve often heard it said that all English students in England who...

Tell your MP to fight disgraceful retrospective student loan hike

It’s against all forms of natural justice and good governance. The Government, without asking Parliament, has changed the terms of student loans, long after many students signed up to them – indeed some had already graduated when they did it. More than 130,000 people signed a petition forcing a parliamentary debate on this hike that will cost...

What I told the Chancellor he should do to improve the marriage tax allowance take-up

Introduced in April 2015, the marriage tax allowance (MTA) is free cash worth £432 for many married couples and those in civil partnerships. Yet surprisingly only 16% of the 4.2 million eligible have claimed it. I’ve been talking about it a lot (well, free cash is free cash), and a good chunk of the low uptake is...

The viral letter about mis-sold student loans due to retrospective interest hikes is well meaning, but wrong

The papers are full of an angry letter from recent graduate Simon Crowther to his MP, which has been shared over 20,000 times, complaining about retrospective hikes to student loan interest.  The letter is well meaning and does a good job in raising awareness. It’s been in all the newspapers, and indeed in articles in Huffington Post and...

Student loan hike: Meeting with Universities Minister to propose mitigation measures

Student loan repayments are being retrospectively hiked from April 2017 – so 100,000s of students and graduates who started uni since 2012 will pay more than they signed up for. In my view, this is against natural justice. So, I’ve been campaigning on it, and today had a meeting with Jo Johnson, Universities Minister, to come up with...

The scrapping of student grants – what it means & how bad is it?

The papers are full of the row over the Government scrapping student grants. As usual when it comes to student finance, the political invective has clouded the actual practical financial impact on students and there’s huge confusion and panic among students and parents.

Open letter to David Cameron about the retrospective student loan hike

Alongside hiring lawyers to look at whether the Government’s decision to retrospectively change student loan repayments for all students who have started university since 2012 can be legally challenged, I have sent the letter below to the Prime Minister asking for a meeting to discuss the moral issues of the change.