27 SEPTEMBER 1969, Page 28

Politics of strife and dole

Sir: I have just read your leading artic (6 September) and find it difficult to unde stand how a newspaper of liberal a radical sympathies such as yours can Possibly advocate a switch from the present s)•stem of student grants to one of student loos. Quite apart from the fact that the minority of 400,000 you mention appears smaller than it really is because at any one time it is limited to a comparatively narrow nee-group: and quite apart from the squalid puritanism which your recommenda- tions betoken, I should be interested to Wow how you suggest the recovery of these loans should be administered.

It is obvious that all those who had any part of their loans still to repay would have to be prohibited from leaving the United Kingdom. Otherwise they might escape. Students of modern languages would be prevented from going to the Continent because they might never return. Young export executives on their way to the United States to sell British goods would be turned back at the port of exit because they might abscond. Extradition treaties would have to be negotiated with every country in the world to prevent recent recipients of grants from escaping their financial obligations to the motherland.

If all these measures were not successfully undertaken, I can think of no better way of encouraging a brain drain. Enough well- educated Britons are already settling in countries where taxation is less crippling and where there is still some financial incentive to get ahead. As Great Britain has had the courage to finance its best brains to enjoy the best the country has to offer in educa- tion, let us have the courage of our liberal convictions and not engage in yet another orgy of counter-productive penny-pinching.