I must admit to being more than a little confused about the Department for Education’s announcement last weekend about “new education and skills measures”.
The headline announcements for UK reward professionals are the freezing of tuition fees for 2018-19 academic year and raising the repayment threshold from £21,000 to £25,000. This is for Plan 2 Student Loans that apply if the student’s home was in England or Wales at the time they took the loan, on or after 1 September 2012.
The announcement, though very short on detail, appears to be that the threshold will increase to £25,000 from April 2018 and will apply to all ex-students who are repaying a Plan 2 Loan, not just those that start repaying from April 2018. The threshold then looks likely to increase in line with average earnings annually.
I am sure this will all be clarified in the legislation that will have to follow. Currently, the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2012 state that the threshold is £21,000 and makes no provision for this to change. The 2012 regulation amended the governing 2009 regulations.
Which makes me wonder if this announcement about the increased Plan 2 threshold from 2018 just applies to students whose home address was in England at the time they took their loan. Which then makes me wonder whether HMRC is able to separate the English and Welsh for notification to employers.
Importantly, if different thresholds are to apply and HMRC can make the distinction between English and Welsh, do software developers have enough time to make this change for the start of the 2018-19 tax year? They will have been relying on the fact that legislation for 2018-19 thresholds states £21,000 (Plan 2) and £18,330 (Plan 1 UK-wide Loans).
Some clarification, legislation and guidance cannot come soon enough. Or maybe I am thinking about this too deeply!