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Income-contingent Student Loans

Volume 473: debated on Friday 14 March 2008

The Sale of Student Loans Bill is currently before Parliament. It creates the legislative framework for the programme of sale of income-contingent student loans announced at Budget 2007. The Bill has completed its passage through the House of Commons and had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 19 February 2008. The Government’s intention, as announced at Budget 2007, is for the sales programme to commence in 2008-09. The Government want the flexibility to make sales at times that offer the best value for money, including the period immediately after Royal Assent to the Sale of Student Loans Bill.

To that end, the Government seek to incur expenditure on external expert services on work that comprises the preparatory phase of implementation, in advance of an initial transaction. Whereas the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has already incurred preliminary expenditure on legal and financial expertise to refine the policy intention to conduct a sale programme, from existing funds, it seeks advances from the Contingencies Fund to be able to incur expenditure on preparatory implementation work.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources for this new service will be sought in a supplementary estimate for 2008-09 for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £5 million will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.