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Student debt
Photography Michael Segalov

Students who don't repay their loans will now be criminals

Yet more bad news for students under the Tory government

Has there ever been a worse time to be a student in the UK then under the Tories? In the latest blow for students everywhere, the government has just announced that it will prosecute graduates who fail to pay their student loans back on time.

Today’s announcement comes after a series of horrible government decisions for students everywhere. In the years since the Tories came to power, they’ve abolished student grants for our poorest students, tripled tuition fees, and put a freeze on the threshold at which you start having to repay your loan (meaning in effect graduates now pay more of their cash each month). And now the government wants to make us criminals if we can’t afford to pay back our student loans. Thanks, Dave.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson (brother of Boris) announced the move today. Incidentally, if you check out Jo’s official website it states that, after attending Oxford, Johnson “did his postgraduate studies in Europe and has degrees from 2 further European universities”. The irony of a wealthy Old Etonian with not one but four separate degrees stripping away opportunities for working-class students in Britain today would almost be funny, if it weren’t so bleak.

Under the new rules, the government will “take stronger action to trace borrowers and act to recover money owed where it is clear that they are seeking to avoid repayment”. This will include tracking students down who move abroad, informing credit reference agencies (meaning those students who don’t repay on time won’t be able to get mortgages), and “the use of litigation” – meaning the government would sue you for not repaying your loan on time.

All in all, it’s a bad time to be a student in the UK.