Is the Tory-Lib coalition government coming up against the Peter Principle? Health Minister Andrew Lansley cut a lonely figure in the House of Commons as he announced that the government would review/delay the proposed NHS reforms. Not one single senior member of cabinet sat anywhere near him when he explained the benefits of the proposal to hand 60% of the NHS’s £103 billion budget to GP-led consortiums by 2013, not in terms of better patient care, but at times using language only an accountant could appreciate, let alone understand!
Dave Cameron is not sure this pair of hands will convince the populace that the NHS is especially safe in them and he has to combat the sneaky (if perhaps correct) suspicion that backdoor privatisation is really what we’re talking about after all. Or take Michael Gove, the schools secretary, who’s been described as a competent journalist but “out of his depth” by Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham.
Gove has consistently denied that students from less privileged backgrounds would be discouraged from applying to university after the government announced that these institutions can charge up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees. Instead, Gove blamed schools for providing the “real barrier” to university, saying that it wasn’t “poverty” putting off these candidates, but rather their schools which didn’t provide them with the A-level passes they need.
That of course depends on your definition of “poverty”, which may be different to the one arrived at by a government largely composed of the comfortable middle class and a few millionaires. What is clear is that kids who plan on going into further and higher education are going to have to rely on their parents for financial support for a lot longer. And those same parents would be best advised looking a BUPA or some similar private health scheme sometime soon to help cope with the stress of meeting their living expenses while saving cash for any child with aspirations. Getting them to their chosen seat of learning is the first way you can save money. Hiring a van often seems the only viable option, but that can expensive, especially if you live in the south of England and the chosen college course is in Edinburgh.
Short term car insurance is one way of persuading a friend or relative with a car big enough for said student and their worldly possessions to let you borrow their motor instead of forking out for hire. And for the time being at least, there’s no difference in the premiums you pay whether you are male or female. One day car insurance is not only cheaper than hiring, it also means you don’t risk any no-claims discounts you may have on your own insurance policy. If you have no motorised friends or aren’t on speaking terms with relatives, you may well be scuppered. In this case, you might be able to persuade your employer to loan you a vehicle and save the money you would have spent on hiring for the inevitable demands that will be made of the “bank of mum and dad” – for which Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has no plans for a bail out of course!
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