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Hodge calls for faster flow of tuition fees

Tuition fees will be "all pain and no gain" unless Treasury rules are changed to channel the money more quickly to universities, Education Select Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge has warned the Government. The committee's third report says it will take years for the Pounds 1 billion released by fees to reach higher education as students pay back loans. The Pounds 165 million boost promised next year is simply not enough.

Changing Treasury accounting rules so that the loans were treated as borrowing instead of grant would release the money immediately without breaking the Government's spending limits, it says.

Ms Hodge said the Government's plans were fair, but in the face of a funding crisis would take too long to work.

But a cross-party group of Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat members of the committee said it was unconvinced there was any need to both charge fees and scrap maintenance grants.

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