From Dr Charles Palmer.
Sir, There is no question that for the UK to maintain its world-class standards in teaching and research, individuals who benefit from higher education should be expected to contribute to its provision.
While one could argue about the relative “fairness” of a future income-determined graduate tax with respect to flat tuition fees, many questions remain as to its implementation as recently pointed out by the Russell Group (“ Cable to suggest lifelong tax on graduates”, July 15).
As someone who has benefited from a UK higher education and lived and worked outside the UK for many years, I wonder how practical such a tax will be to implement.
Once resident and paying tax on income abroad, how could the government first identify my job and income level and second, collect an income-based tax outside its jurisdiction?
In addition to being expensive to run, such a system, if plagued by legal and asymmetric information problems, may incentivise high earners (often if not always the better graduates as well) to seek work outside the UK.
Finally, how would the system cope with the expanding numbers of foreign students taking UK undergraduate degrees (an increasingly important source of university income) who may decide not to stay and work in the UK?
London School of Economics, UK
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