Those Tories really are selective about who they help with the costs of Covid-19, aren’t they?
I remember being a student. Most of the time, I hardly had two pennies to rub together. The rented accommodation available to us was – mostly – diabolical. And expensive.
One place was damp. It gave me bronchitis.
But at least I got to live in it!
Since the Covid crisis started, according to a survey, the
average student has so far paid £1,621 in rent for unrefunded empty rooms.
In total, according to advice website Save the Student,
university students have wasted nearly £1bn on empty rooms in flat shares and halls of residence that they have been unable to use because of coronavirus restrictions this academic year.
The website estimates rents are so high that they take up three-quarters of their maintenance loans at an average of £146 per week, so it’s no wonder that
Students’ anger with high rents… boiled over on UK campuses this term as students launched the largest rent strike in 40 years.
There has been a patchy response from universities, private halls of residence and landlords, with some refusing discounts while others have offered full rebates.
I have a lot of sympathy for the universities, and for the landlords – as well as for the students themselves.
It is unfair for the accommodation providers to foot the bill for thousands of empty rooms when the situation was thrust on them by the government – albeit admittedly in response to a nationwide pandemic.
It just happens to be even more unfair for them to demand that students pay the bill, rather than the government. This is loaned money, remember – they have to pay it back, plus interest, over a period of decades to come.
Businesses – especially the bigger ones – have received huge subsidies, and employees have had 80 per cent of their wages paid by a government “furlough” scheme. Why weren’t students added to that, at the very least?
The Guardian story tells us the government has provided students with £70 million in hardship funding, which seems to fall quite a long way short of what they’ve had to shell out.
Considering the billions given to Tory cronies and their – let’s be honest – fake firms for nonexistent or inadequate Covid-related services, this is an insult to the next generation of the UK’s movers and shakers.
Let’s hope they remember it.
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