View guides

Inquiry into Student Loan Company Urged

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Shadow Universities Minister Gordon Marsden has called for an urgent inquiry into the Student Loans Company, after its chief executive was suspended.

The Department for Education (DfE) suspended chief executive Steve Lamey in July, but offered no explanation as to why.

A statement released by the DfE said: "The Student Loans Company, in consultation with the Department for Education, took the decision to suspend the chief executive, pending investigation into concerns which have been raised."

The DfE stressed that the suspension does not imply wrongdoing, but has led to an independent investigation.

Now, Gordon Marsden has asked for clarification regarding the details of the suspension and has suggested the company was near "meltdown".

In particular, Mr Marsden highlighted that the number of student loan customers who had overpaid rose to 86,000 in 2015-16, up from the 52,000 reported in 2009-10. Subsequently he has asked University Minster Jo Johnson to outline what steps were being taken to address the problem.

He wrote: "The deteriorating situation suggests that there are significant management pressures at the SLC, both in processing this information and then in rectifying overpayments.

"So are you able to give assurances that there will be no further cuts in staffing resource or capacity at the SLC?"

A spokesman for the DfE responded by defending the current system, suggesting it was fair, and no borrower need overpay their loan.