There is still a demographic gulf between the richest and poorest institutions; until access to Britain's "top" institutions becomes a reality, a market can only act as a counter to the pursuit of social justice. A sector that should be an engine room for greater equality instead acts to reinforce inequality of opportunity and outcome.but he has missed one of the main social effects of mass education.
Educated populations reduce inequality by being able to hold governments and bureaucracies to account, as despots around the world know well. Inequality is not served by coercing universities to recruit poorly educated students who have been let down by their families, communities or schools, or by their own unwillingness to take the opportunities on offer to them.
Students who have been unsuccessful at school are likely to be unsuccessful in university degree courses. The most liberal university entry requirements produce institutions with the highest drop-out rates, wasting a year or two of a young person's critical career-forming years: the best of intentions can not easily overcome the lack of academic preparation.
Inequality in the country as a whole will be helped by having a critical mass of the population having a sufficient level of education to challenge the status quo. The most disadvantaged will themselves benefit from the best students being educated to the greatest level. We all need an elite in this country: who wants everything important run by the mediocre?