The stumbling block is Browne’s recommendation that interest free loans be scrapped. This stark move was to be offset by raising the threshold and tapering interest rates to protect the disadvantaged. There are also concerns that the affluent will be able to pay off their debt quickly, whilst everyone else is lumbered with debts for 30 years.
Lib Dems in government and without are conscious that mere abstention may not quell dissent in the shires. Apparently, Cable is working to ensure that the affluent won’t be able eradicate their debt immediately, which is a ludicrously unfair proposal – government should not deny people the opportunity of eradicating debts they are perfectly capable of paying. So, Westminster searches for an as yet unfound compromise: Cable addresses the House later this afternoon.
PS: The FT's Alex Baker has news that repayments will hit middle income earners hardest (those who averaged £27,000/ annum over 30 years bearing the lion's share).