8:07 AM, 6th October 2022, About 12 months ago 5
The latest organisation to call for rent controls in a bid to tackle ‘rocketing rent prices’ is the National Union of Students (NUS).
The NUS has just published its Student Cost of Living report and says that the cost-of-living crisis is affecting students.
The union is also recommending that the government reforms universal credit and offers inflation-proofed maintenance support.
Chloe Field, the NUS’ vice-president (higher education), said: “As the cost-of-living crisis increasingly bites for everyone across the UK, the government must ensure that students are not left behind.
“All too often, students are viewed as privileged young adults who can easily fall back on parental support or buy a few less drinks to ride out the cost-of-living crisis.
“Students across the country are buckling under the weight of soaring energy bills, rocketing rent prices, and mounting debt yet are often left out of existing government support including universal credit.”
She warns that ‘thousands will be forced to quit education’ to afford to live.
Ms Field added: “We urgently need the government to inflation-proof student loans and maintenance loans, bring in legislation to control student rent to avoid a homelessness crisis, and provide additional funding to education providers to bolster hardship funds.
“In addition to specific support, the government must ensure that students are no longer excluded from general interventions intended to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis such as energy grants and one-off payments to households.”
She also says that ‘Rent was already sky high for students before inflation boomed’.
The latest report was initiated after a student accommodation survey found that 29% of students in the UK have less than £50 to live on each month after bills and rent have been paid.
The report was put together with the Higher Education Policy Institute, and the organisation’s director, Nick Hillman, said: “There is one area where my views differ from those of the NUS, as I am not convinced interventions like rent controls are wise.
“We are already seeing in London that this type of intervention can lead quite quickly to a shortage of appropriate accommodation.
“However, we do need a clearer line of sight between all those who provide students with accommodation on the one hand, and those in power overseeing student accommodation on the other – such as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, those to whom power has been devolved regionally and local councils.”
In his foreword to the report, Mr Hillman adds: “Above all, the cost-of-living crisis for students, just like the overall cost-of-living crisis, needs a concerted and united response.
“Otherwise, students will continue to fall through the cracks, which will leave them feeling individually bitter and also block them from collectively making their full contribution to the future of our society.”
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