David Davis has told Theresa May to scrap the “failed” student loans system and Help to Buy policy in what has been branded a Tory leadership pitch.
The former Brexit secretary also demanded more money be put into the beleaguered Universal Credit benefits programme.
Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, Davis said the government “must do better” when it came to improving social mobility.
“Today the cost of getting a university education plus the confusion around the financing of it acts as a disincentive,” he told MPs. “I am afraid the policy on student loans has failed.
“The whole system needs to be revamped. We should move away from loans altogether with the liberating psychological impact this would have on young people.”
Davis, who resigned from the Cabinet in the summer over the prime minister’s Chequers plan for Brexit, also said the government’s housing policy was “failing”.
“Help to Buy should be scrapped immediately,” he said. “It’s not increasing supply off housing – rather it is increasing the cost of new homes by 15%.”
Under the scheme launched in 2013, designed to help first time buyers, the government gives financial aid to people purchasing a home by contributing towards the cost.
Philip Hammond used his Budget on Monday to extend the programme until 2023.
Critics argue it has simply pushed up the cost of houses and put more money in the pockets of big developers.
Davis defended the Universal Credit system and welcomed the extra money pumped into it by Hammond at the Budget.
But he warned: “It will need further funding beyond what has already been promised in this Budget and I certainly will be watching that in the future.”
Davis has been mooted as a possible replacement for May should she be ousted before the next general election.
Labour MP Kevan Jones spoke up during the former Brexit secretary’s comments on domestic policy to note it sounded like a “leadership speech”.