Young forced to choose between house and degree

10 March 2004
David Rendel, Liberal Democrat higher education spokesman, today challenged the prime minister about the plight of graduates unable to get a mortgage because of their student debts.

Mr Rendel said: "Students graduating with five-figure debts are finding it impossible to get onto the housing ladder. This situation will be made far worse if top-up fees are introduced and graduate debts reach as high as £30,000."

He pointed out that until recently new graduates were the main source of first time buyers, but debt now prevents many from entering the housing market.

He raised the case of a constituent who was told that her student loan debt of £12,000 limits the amount she can borrow, making it impossible for her to get a mortgage.

The government's higher education minister has previously admitted that students from the poorest backgrounds will graduate with debts of nearly £20,000. Barclay's Bank estimates that that graduate debt will top £30,000 by 2010.

"The Prime Minister clearly doesn't understand one of the likely side effects of his own student top-up fees policy. Under Labour young people are forced to choose between going into higher education or buying a property," Mr Rendel alleged.