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SUMMER SUPPORT URGENTLY NEEDED TO TACKLE STUDENT POVERTY

NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly

NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly has today called on the Scottish Government to “address the summer support gap” as students face a summer of unprecedented hardship with the rising cost of living.

In June 2021 the Scottish Government pledged to review summer support for students but it is unlikely that the review will conclude this academic year.

While £20 million of additional discretionary support was made available to students by the Scottish Government last summer, no new funds have been provided this year and, despite a clear need, discretionary funds remain underspent.

54 per cent of students find coping financially over the summer months difficult according to NUS Scotland research carried out earlier this year.

When asked what students find most difficult to afford over the summer months, essential bills and costs of living came out on top – with 17 per cent saying the cost of rent followed by food at 16 per cent, utilities at 15 per cent and essential travel at 14 per cent.

NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly commented:

“Many students across Scotland have now received their last student support of the year and face yet another long summer without any upfront financial support. Coupled with the rising cost of living, the poorest students will be hit hard unless the Scottish Government takes action.  

“During the Scottish Parliament elections, the First Minister pledged to look at the introduction of summer grants but progress on the government’s summer support review has been painfully slow.

“Our survey of over 3,500 students found that over half found coping financially during the summer difficult and 12 per cent had experienced homelessness since starting their studies – Scotland will continue to fail its students if we don’t address the summer support gap.

“The Scottish Government has shown that where there is a will they will find a way to provide cost-of-living support to households – they should do so now by issuing a Student Summer Payment to ensure no student falls into poverty this summer.”

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