Sunday, February 03, 2008


James Cleverly obviously has schooling on his mind.
Education vouchers may well prove to be part of the solution but there will not be change throughout the market until there is a massive increase in the supply of education. Indeed there needs to be a surplus of supply, otherwise the parents with sharp elbows will get the choices and the meek will once again get what they’re given.

It would be wrong for the public sector to run service provision at surplus capacity, I don’t want to pay tax to fund half empty schools. This means that there must be a massive expansion in the private and charity run sector. Then education vouchers would make sense because all parents, irrespective of geography or wealth, would be able to send their child to a good school.

You see, what often annoys me about certain options that some of we loony Libs put forward is that politicians always seem to miss the damn point, and the point here is a very simple one.

Education vouchers are not inherently good in and of themselves: a voucher system is only beneficial if all schools are privatised and restrictions on setting up a school are removed.

This is the point of vouchers: the state continues to fund children's education, but they do not actually provide it.

Unfortunately, the Tories seem to have missed this point. PLease, will someone call on Cameron and sell him a clue?


Roger Thornhill said...

It would be wrong for the public sector to run service provision at surplus capacity,

This is not quite true - it is very hard for anyone to justify running surplus capacity.

Either way, is the VERY reason why the public sector should NEVER run anything that is not a natural monopoly, as surplus capacity provides the liquidity to enable the bad to be left to shape up or ship out.

As for education, the same goes for healthcare.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Exactly. I've nothing against taxpayer funding (education is certainly a merit good, and probably a public good), it's state provision that ruins things.

The Adam Smith Institute wimped out recently and said they were happy with vouchers provided recipient school did not use selection and did not charge top-up fees, which sort of makes a mockery of all the whole voucher idea.

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