NUS President Shakira Martin responds to the chancellor's Autumn budget statement.
Responding to the chancellor's budget statement today (Wednesday), NUS President Shakira Martin said:
"Today the chancellor had an opportunity to improve the quality of life for the millions of students and young people across the country. He missed that opportunity. What he has done today is stick plasters on fatal wounds. Young people and students still face the overwhelming costs that have made us the first generation in history to be worse off than our parents.
Extending the young persons’ railcard to under 30s will not help those who need to travel at peak hours to get to their place of study or work. Young people will still earn less than older people in the same job, and apprentices will earn an absolutely pathetic £3.70 an hour. Doing away with stamp duty will only benefit those who can already afford to put down a deposit for a house. For many young people this is a distant dream.
The £20 million invested in FE is miniscule in relation to the cuts that have been made in the last few years, and while we welcome the investment of £8.5 million in adult learning, this won’t repair the 40% cut in adult education funding since 2010. By choosing to train only those who are already in work, the government have missed yet another opportunity to help the disadvantaged by supporting adults to re-enter the workforce.
This is a series of missed opportunities. What we haven’t seen is any announcement around the desperately needed maintenance support for students. Students will continue to live in squalor as they struggle to cover the cost of food, rent, heating and warm water. We have made it very clear that students urgently need support to cover the cost of living, and that a review must be carried out to reimagine education funding for the long term. There has been no real movement on either. For a government who so desperately need to appeal to young voters, they are showing very little concern for young people’s needs.”
Shakira Martin is available for interview.
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The National Union of Students is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.
We are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students' unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students. We promote, defend and extend the rights of students and develop and champion strong students’ unions.