Our Kids Could Live With Their Parents Forever

Here's the latest from our highly-placed professional.

'Some of my market City Slicker mates are thoroughly fed up.

It's not enough, it seems, to put your kids through private school costing some £30,000 per child per year, nor is it enough to pay 50% income tax. No, just as soon as you breathe a deep sigh of relief, and after all your child benefits, personal tax allowances and whatnot have been judiciously removed by HM Government, you face the prospect of getting slammed with U.S. style university fees.

Now when I lived in Manhattan I got used to the idea that I was a minor economy supporting a small army of cleaners, child minders, doormen, janitors and the like. Not to mention therapists for me and my wife, and kids and, yes, you guessed it, eventually even a therapist for the hapless Baley, our dog. Tips flowed from my wallet like confetti as I swanked around NYC in taxis (and buses) and 'bribed' various co-op staff to fetch and fix.

Needless to say, it never actually felt that swanky. I was just another struggling parent, despite being a bone fide paid-up Wall Streeter. As we know, all that glistens is not gold, and New York City proved no exception. But it sure was reassuringly expensive.

The reason I bring all this up is that I think the UK is quickly moving to a U.S. style system. You will soon need to be able to come up with huge amounts of cash if you want to get your kids through the private education system. The £7,000 fee cap proposed by the most generous Mr Cable is to me just the tip of the iceberg. You see the politicos just don't see the advantage in shelling out loads of taxpayer cash to preserve university funding. Much easier to let the students fund it themselves like they do in the States.

Except a lot of us don't really want our kids starting their professional lives saddled with debt, however generous the repayment terms. I know for a fact that many American parents feel the same way, so even if they don't stump up all the money, they do still dig deep to help out. The other thing that happens is that talented kids go to State Universities where the fees are very small indeed if you can prove residence in the state in question. But State Universities don't have the status of the Ivy League schools. This is what will happen here in the UK. Kids from more modest backgrounds will end up at more modest institutions.

You see that's the biggest betrayal of the working classes by the failed Labour administration. Our country will pretty quickly follow the highly elitist educational path of the USA. If you dare take on mammoth student loans, or if you win a scholarship, you might get to one of the Russell 10 Unis. If you don't want to play that game it's going to be more like Bangor Technical College. Or you might just get real and get working.

A lot of readers, of course, will say there's nothing wrong with that system. It weeds out the chaff and is fairer in some ways. But it doesn't afford the liberal largesse that our University system was rightly famed for.

Now back to the City. With a deep sigh one of my mates raged down the phone at me: "I've paid more than my fair share in tax, I've paid for private education and saved the taxpayer the cost of educating my kids. And I did it willingly, because I knew that once they were at university it would be 'free'. Finally I'd get something back! But now it's over."

"Now now," I whispered encouragingly. But he wasn't having it.

"Can't you see ?', he replied, "The government is nailing us! And guess what, if the kids can't get a decent job afterwards they'll just have to live with us - forever!"

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