To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans the Government has to provide (a) financial and (b) other support to students who have lost income and are struggling to pay rent in the private sector during the covid-19 outbreak.
We understand that some students are facing financial difficulties as a result of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Students will have received scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year and the process for issuing loans for the next academic year, 2020/2021, will proceed as normal. In addition, students on a PAYE contract, for example those who have a part time job, may have access to support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Many higher education (HE) providers maintain hardship funds, which can be used where necessary. As part of the HE stabilisation package, the government has worked closely with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19.
If a student thinks they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment, they should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity to allow both parties to agree a workable way forward. We encourage landlords to be sympathetic to tenants who may be struggling during this time and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.