Following Rishi Sunak’s announcements about future spending in today’s Budget, the National Union of Students have called for the Government to stop ignoring students, for ignored they have been.
In their submission to the Treasury prior to the Comprehensive Spending Review, the NUS had argued that the Government needed to introduce a maintenance support system which will allow all learners to live in comfort and security whilst studying in further and higher education. Let’s face it, for any student without parental financial support, studying is extremely difficult these days with high rents and so on.
Alongside other demands, they had also called for investment and infrastructure to support all learners with their studies and enhance further digital accessibility to meet all, including non-academic, requirements, as well as proper funding for NHS mental health services for children and young people.
Rather than acknowledging these asks, the Government claimed that “The government will set out further details of the Higher Education settlement alongside the response to the Augar report, which will be published in the coming weeks” on page 98 of their Budget report, published shortly after the conclusion of Rishi Sunak’s speech.
Commenting after the Budget, Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, NUS Vice-President for Higher Education, said:
“Rishi Sunak has made the decision to ghost students, wholesale ignoring Higher Education in today’s spending review.
“Alongside other sector bodies including Universities UK, we asked for maintenance support that students can actually live on, and that won’t leave us with debts we can never repay. We demanded investment in mental health services. We made the case for funding in further education for living costs, and adult learning.
“The fact that none of our asks have been acknowledged shows that this government is sticking to its old tactic – ignore, abandon, and scapegoat students.
“We know that an announcement is coming in the next few weeks as the Government finally responds to the Augar Review. We hope that the Government considers the evidence we submitted to this spending review, and address the issues that plague students today”.