Students concerned about managing financially during the covid-19 outbreak.

By Lucy Ashton

New findings from the National Union of Students show that 73% of students have been concerned about managing financially during the covid-19 outbreak.

And 14% of students have used food banks during the pandemic.

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP, right,  said: “It is shameful that Scottish students are finding themselves on the breadline.

“The pandemic has clearly left many of them in a very vulnerable position, and that has not been helped by delayed and disjointed decision making by the Scottish Government.

“From the off, it has seemed like this group have been an afterthought with the Scottish Government, and that has only been underlined by the fact that there is still no clear guidance on how they should plan when and where they study this term. They urgently need this information to plan.

“The Scottish Government urgently need to up their game, ensure rent rebates are available for those who need it and bulk up the Student Hardship Funds.”

Figures from NUS Scotland showing that over two-thirds of student renters (71 per cent) are concerned about their ability to pay rent.

Ms Wishart  said:  “Students have had a raw deal. With online learning continuing throughout February, many are stuck paying for student accommodation or private housing they can’t use.

“The Government should ensure these students are treated fairly and are supported with a proper rebate. 

“Students have made huge sacrifices to keep others safe, they should not be punished financially for doing so.

“The Universities minister needs to take action to end the uncertainty and help students to plan their lives.”

West College at Queens’ Quay on the riverside at Clydebank. Picture by Bill Heaney

Meanwhile, responding to the publication of the report from the Citizens’ Assembly, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The assembly was set up by SNP ministers as part of a package of steps to promote independence.

“It is good that the assembly has gone wider in order to look at issues such as mental health, tackling poverty and recovery from the pandemic.

“The evidence from around the world is that fairer societies are more successful economically and it is good to see the assembly members highlight this. Their recommendations on universal income, fair employment and the living wage support that aim.

”I share the concern of assembly members that our public services and industries need people to move to Scotland from elsewhere, and we should welcome them.”

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