Budget could herald shift in policy on college fees

“Will the forthcoming ‘draconian’ Budget change Government policy on college fees? Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe is sticking to his line that the rich should pay college fees from next autumn. But he has also signalled there is only so much pain that the average taxpayer can be expected to bear. With income levies, public sector levies and higher taxes to come in the April Budget, those on average incomes will struggle to fund the €5,000 or so for college fees. Significantly, the Minister signalled that any proposals to impose fees on, say, the children of a garda married to a teacher would have to be ‘family proofed’. Essentially, the overall financial outgoings of the family home – plus presumably the value of their property – would have be assessed before any fees were imposed. It is a sensible idea but one which could be difficult and expensive to implement …” (more)

[Irish Times, 10 March]

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