The Lib Dems want to give every adult in Britain £9,000 tax-free to help them “learn” – a decade after sparking fury by backing £9,000 tuition fees on students.
A motion at this weekend’s party conference will see Vince Cable push a £1.5 billion plan for a universal Education and Skills Account which would see the Government hand every person £3,000 when they turn 25, 40 and 55.
They would get a top-up if ever they are laid off – or to “encourage workers to retrain into shortage occupations”.
Details buried in documents for the party conference reveal: “We would make three contributions to PESAs, each worth £3,000 when 25, 40 and 55.
“We would also incentivise people and employers to pay into these accounts by offering tax relief or match funding.
“From the age of 25 onwards, account holders would be able to use whatever money was saved in their accounts to pay for education and training courses.”
Vince Cable earlier this year mooted the plan – saying the party had to become the “party of education”.
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It comes seven years after ex-Lib Dem leader and deputy-PM Nick Clegg apologised for breaking a previous pledge and increasing student tuition fees. The Lib Dems were part of the Coalition that approved plans in 2010 to allow universities in England to charge fees of up to £9,000 – nearly three times the previous £3,200 limit.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: “The Lib Dems ditched their tuition fee pledge to students because getting into bed with the Tories was more important to them than keeping their word.
“So this empty promise is another kick in the teeth for young people saddled with decades of debt thanks to the Lib Dems.”
Ex-Lib Dem leader and deputy-PM Nick Clegg apologised for breaking a previous pledge and increasing student tuition fees[/caption]
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