Daisy Cooper, MP for St Albans, Deputy Leader and spokesperson for education has just been challenging ministers in the Commons on the problem students have been experiencing during the pandemic. She said that students felt forgotten, that their mental health had deteriorated and government funds for students facing hardship should be doubled.
Addressing Michelle Donelan, Minister for Universities, Daisy said:
“About 36 hours ago, around 1 million students who have still not returned to university since Christmas were told that they should not expect to do so until at least 17 May. Before that announcement, it seemed that the Government had forgotten them altogether, and now we have proof that they had, because for many students that date comes after their courses have actually finished.
“This feels like a final, end-of-term insult to university students, who have had months of not being able to use libraries or labs, months without taking part in student societies or extracurricular activities, months of paying rent for accommodation that they could not use and months without being able to work, with some falling behind on rent and bills and needing to feed themselves from food banks. Is it any wonder that more than 50% of students say their mental health has got worse?
“Students must be fairly compensated, both financially for rent and fees and with support to recover the learning time they have lost. The Government must more than double the funds for those facing hardship to £700 million, as suggested by the all-party parliamentary group for students.”
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