The University of Southampton Action Week committee will be taking part in National Action Week, to help raise concerns over the proposed sale of the 1998-2012 student loan book to the private sector.

National Action Week will be taking place between the 3rd and 7th February and the Action Week committee, run by Kirstie Pullman and Ben Hansen Hicks, will be increasing student awareness on the issue and encouraging students to sign the online government petition.

The government has recently sold the pre 1998 student loan book and have proposed a potential sale of the 1998-2012 loan book, valued at £10bn. This proposal would not only involve the transition to the private sector but the lifting of the low interest cap, meaning graduates are at risk of paying more back over a longer period of time. Toni Pearce, NUS president, stated his concerns over the potential sale:

“This announcement is extremely concerning and is one that will see the public subsidising a private company making a profit from public debt, which is incredibly problematic.”

The #SoActTeam, the committee helping to raise this issue on campus, will be located on Highfield, Winchester, National Centre of Oceanography and Wide Lane on Wednesday 5th February to help communicate to students the issues that are attached with the latest government proposal. The SoAct Week team share their thoughts on the dangers of this proposal:

Our view is that the proposed sale of the 1998-2012 loan book is one that fails to make long term economic sense for the Treasury. We also strongly believe that it is not right to let a private company profit from a public debt.

The committee also aim to not only communicate the issue to students, but to other key figures in the city to help gain support and express what this would mean for students:

“Students should not be penalised for being proactive and investing in their future through Higher Education. The proposed sale would further impact already substantial tuition fees and resultant debt costs.”

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