Housing costs go through the roof

September 21, 2001

Student rent is rocketing at a rate far higher than inflation, according a survey compiled by the National Union of Students. This increase often takes students by surprise, leaving them struggling to cover the cost.

Rachel Cashman, former NUS vice-president for welfare, said: "It is a fundamental right to have accommodation that is safe and secure. Rising rents force students into substandard housing, putting them at personal risk."

The average weekly rent for a single self-catering unit has risen by 8.2 per cent since 1999-2000. Inflation and the increase of the student loan for the same period were below 3 per cent. The Department for Education and Skills said there were no plans to increase the loan to match the rise in accommodation costs.

London students spend the highest proportion of their income on rent, at 70 per cent, with those outside the capital spending 62 per cent. The average cost of rent in inner London is £79.18, greater London £69.98 and outside of London £55.54. The top ten most expensive universities for self-catered accommodation are all in London, with the London School of Economics topping the list at an average of £100 a week. The LSE has a few cheaper rooms, but they are further from the campus.

Claire Taylor, LSE student union general secretary said: "You get what you pay for, there is a huge difference in the standard of different accommodations."

Queen Mary and Westfield College, which ranks as third most expensive, is adding accommodation for 1,000 students at a cost of £35 million. To help cover the cost, 6.5 per cent has been added on top of inflation to rent, taking the rise to 9.5 per cent.

Despite the spiralling cost, demand for accommodation far outweighs supply. "Price rises can be an issue, but even more of an issue is the fact that there is not enough accommodation. There is a waiting list of 1,500 people hoping for places and there are only 7,000 students at LSE," Ms Taylor said.

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