NUS Response to the Spring Budget

NUS Response to the Spring Budget

NUS welcomes the Chancellor’s announcements on childcare, energy bills and the fuel duty, but is disappointed to note nothing has been done to address the concerns of students with regards to the failure of Maintenance loans to keep pace with inflation, and spiralling rents. The Government has done the bare minimum and needs to do far more if more students aren’t to be condemned to poverty.

In our budget submission to the treasury, which is available on our website, we outlined the suffering students are experiencing due to the cost-of-living crisis, and the steps the Government must take to relieve this. Our keys asks were for rent controls; free transport for students and apprentices; to pay apprentices the National Living Wage; maintenance loans to keep pace with inflation, and extra help, such as boosted hardship loans, to alleviate the cost-of-living. To say we are disappointed that none of these have been acted upon would be an understatement.

NUS Vice President for Higher Education, Chloe Field, said: “Students are suffering. In the last few years there has been survey after survey which has revealed this. The ONS, The Sutton Trust and NUS’s own survey have all found the same. Just this week the Russell Group Students' Unions published a survey which found 1 in 4 students regularly go without food and other necessities because they cannot afford them. This rose to over 3 in 10 for those from the most socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. 54% of students reported their academic performance had suffered because of the crisis, while 18% considered dropping out due to financial reasons. 72% reported their mental health had suffered, while 57% were not confident of finding work after graduation. 43% regularly worried about their student loan repayments.”

“Students are the doctors, nurses and public sector workers of tomorrow and yet the Government has done little. The suffering of students shames our country. And yet, despite all the evidence available to him, the Chancellor has chosen to do nothing.”

“Extending free childcare provision to all children aged one and two, on top of existing nursery provision for those aged three and four, will be welcomed by students who are parents of young children who all-to-often struggle to balance their studies with their childcare responsibilities. The extension of subsidies for household energy bills is also to be welcomed, as is the continuing freeze on fuel duty, which will help students and apprentices who commute. But let’s be clear, these are slim pickings, and the Government could, and should, have done much more.”

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