Rents: Students

Department for Education written question – answered on 9th June 2020.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide (a) financial and (b) other support to students who have lost income and are struggling to pay their rent during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Government guidance makes clear how important it is that institutions operate a non-eviction policy, so that no student is required to leave halls if their contract is up, if their rental agreement does not cover holiday periods or if they are unable to pay their rent. This is particularly important in the case of international students, care leavers and students estranged from their families.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year.

We have worked closely with the Office for Students to enable higher education providers to draw on existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers will be able to use the funding worth around £23 million per month for June and July, towards student hardship funds.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19), which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment. We have also asked that higher education providers pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time.

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