Rent Cuts, Rent-Rise Caps, Academic Sanctions Gone – We Won!

Tuesday 18-06-2019 - 08:10
Rory blog1

I was elected on a manifesto pledge to lead a Cut the Rent campaign on campus and I am pleased to announce that, following a year of grassroots student activism a series of meetings with members of the University’s Executive Board, we have secured the single biggest rent cut for students in Halls of Residence in the history of the student movement – totalling almost £1 million each year.

I have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University which will last until the end of 2023 with an opportunity to extend it to last until the end of 2025, on behalf of the Guild which will ensure:

  1. Starting from 2019/20 academic year, any student in receipt of the full or partial Liverpool Bursary and all other central Widening Participation Bursaries such as those for estranged students, Young Adult Carers and Care Leavers will receive £800 discount for any Halls of Residence they live in owned by the University of Liverpool.  Around 1150 students will receive this each year, or 25% of students in halls. In short, we have put at least £3.7 Million back into the pockets of students at Liverpool over the coming years
  2. We have secured an agreement from the University to review the rents charged across the board with meaningful input from the Guild. Which could lead to further reductions in rent in some rooms
  3. Rent rises for the academic years 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022/23 (and possibly more) will be capped at a maximum of 3.5%. This will prevent any sudden rent rises and ensures rent increases are much more in-line with increases in student maintenance loans.
  4. The Guild and the University will meet at several formal meetings and committees each year designated to negotiate rent increases and discuss issues in Halls of Residence
  5. The University will permanently cease to apply ‘academic sanctions for non-academic debt’ – meaning students who fall into rent arrears will no longer be illegally punished by being locked out of the library/vital etc

This is perhaps the biggest victory for the national student Cut the Rent movement so far and it is a credit to every student on our campus who signed the petition, went door-knocking, attended campaign meetings and supported the Guild’s fight for affordable accommodation.

On behalf of the students of University of Liverpool, I would also like to thank the NUS and the national student Rent Strike collective for all their support in our campaign. I hope that the national campaign for affordable Halls of Residence continues and other universities follow Liverpool’s lead and listen to their students on this critical welfare issue.

Professor Gavin Brown, Pro Vice Chancellor for Education at the University of Liverpool has said: “Widening access to our institution for students who are under-represented in higher education, specifically learners from disadvantaged and low-income backgrounds is central to the University of Liverpool’s strategic vision. We are proud to be leading the way with this single largest rent reduction in higher education, for those students in receipt of a central Widening Participation bursary. 

“We know that accommodation is one of the biggest outgoings for our students and this agreement has been reached because of very positive, collaborative engagement with the Guild of Students and our student body. Listening and working together to achieve this reduction will ensure affordable accommodation and fair access for every student.”

 

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