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Student Loans

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 31 March 2011

13. What recent assessment he has made of the administrative efficiency of the student loans system. (49979)

The service provided by the Student Loans Company in the desperate, dying days of the previous Government was woeful, and it led to an independent report that said so. We replaced the chairman of the company immediately after we entered office, and I am pleased to report that the SLC answered more than 95% of telephone calls in the peak period from August to September 2010, compared with just 13% during a similar period in the previous year.

I am very grateful to the Minister for that response and to hear of those improvements. I have had a number of complaints from families in my constituency about repeated requests for information. Will the Minister assure families in constituencies such as mine and, indeed, throughout the United Kingdom that they will not have to suffer as they have because of past inefficiencies?

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Universities and Science is absolutely determined that the service provided by the Student Loans Company should be up to scratch. I can tell the House, and my hon. Friend, that 99% of applications received from students who applied by the relevant deadlines with the correct documentation were ready for payment at the start of term. This is real progress, but we are not complacent, and we will always insist that we do the very best with the Student Loans Company.