Words by: Nik Taylor
George Osborne will deliver the budget on Wednesday 18 MarchReduced university tuition fees, more investment in the NHS and lower taxes for low earners top the budget wishlist from UK students.


George Osborne delivers his final budget of the current government on Wednesday 18 March.

Although few surprises are expected from the chancellor this close to an election, the budget does represent a chance for the Tories to kick off their campaign trail with a few good news stories.

So, what do students want from the chancellor? We put that question to 569 of you, asking: 'what one thing would you most like the chancellor to announce in his budget?' Here are the eight things most commonly requested.

1. Reduce university tuition fees

No surprises here: almost half of you said your biggest wish from Mr Osborne would be a reduction in the cost of university tuition fees. Rival parties are already in on this one: Labour has committed to an election pledge to reduce annual fees to £6,000, while the Greens would scrap the fees altogether. But £9,000 fees were introduced by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition, so it would be a huge shock for the chancellor to backtrack. Instead, he might opt to use the pension tax that Ed Miliband earmarked for paying for lower tuition fees to fund tax cuts for workers.

2. Lower tax for lower earners

Your tax requests range from a lowering in VAT through to a clampdown on tax evasion. But the tax wish that cropped up most often is simply a reduction in taxes for workers. In his autumn statement last December, Mr Osborne announced an increase in the personal tax allowance up to £10,600 from April. But there could still be more to come, with an oft-mooted National Insurance cut possibly on the cards.The red case in which the chancellor carries the new budget

3. More investment in the NHS

"More money for the NHS" was top of the list for many students in our poll. However, the government's current priority appears to focus on devolution, enabling regional control of health budgets, as seen with last month's Greater Manchester agreement.

4. An increase in the minimum wage

The minimum wage was last increased in October, with a 19p an hour rise taking it to £6.50 an hour (£5.13 an hour for 18 to 20-year-olds; £3.79 for those aged 16 and 17). A further increase in this budget wouldn't be a huge surprise - though it's unlikely to be as high as Mr Osborne's previously reported wish for the minimum wage to reach £7 an hour by 2016.

5. More money for schools

Our polled students have plenty of budget requests around education, from the return of EMA through to higher pay for teachers. Many students simply asked for "more investment in education". There's little to suggest that's on the cards though, and some reports suggest cuts could even follow should the Tories win power in May's election.New and affordable housing is among student's budget wishes

6. Affordable housing

Housing affordability was a concern among those surveyed, with "more help to buy a house" and "more new housing" popular requests. The question here is whether Mr Osborne is likely to follow up December's stamp duty shake-up with more housing policies so quickly.

7. No tax on female sanitary products

This one wouldn't cost the government a huge amount, but would generate a stream of positive publicity. Tampons and sanitary towels are currently subject to VAT since they are bizarrely classified as 'non-essential products'. More than 200,000 people have signed a petition for this tax to end, and the issue was also highlighted in our survey.

8. Removal of the 'learning tax' on sixth form colleges

It's not only students who want to see the abolition of VAT on sixth form colleges. The likes of Colin Firth are also behind calls for the removal of a tax that is not attached to schools and academies, but impacts on the cash available for sixth form college's teaching.

And three that will definitely not happen

We can be 100% confident that some of the responses to our survey will not appear in the budget. "More unicorns", "free McDonald's every Friday" and "free chocolate forever" all sound great, but we can sadly confirm they are not in the chancellor's red briefcase for Wednesday.


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What do you want to see announced by the chancellor in his budget?