NUS concern over digs

February 14, 1997

What does tertiary education do for London? Not a lot, says one report. In another of our series of regional focuses, THES reporters look for a sense of community within the M25 area.

Three main areas - accommodation, employment and transport - top the list of worries for students who choose to study in London.

The National Union of Students is particularly worried about the lack of accommodation services offered by institutions. Accommodation "offices" sometimes amount to little more than a noticeboard on which landlords post adverts.

Sharon Hunter, NUS officer for the London region, said: "There is a failure of certain London institutions to provide proper accommodation services. There is little or no checking or verification of landlords or their properties. It is something that ought to be addressed."

The high price of accommodation in London - average private-sector rents in the capital are Pounds 51 a head a week compared with a UK city average of Pounds 40-Pounds 45- means students tend to incur bigger debts.

The NUS also says that more students work part-time in London - over 50 per cent. Concerns over the pay and conditions of student workers have led to the NUS piloting a scheme to assess how closely employers adhere to employment rights in their dealings with student employees.

An additional cost for many students is transport. The sheer size of the capital means students can spend several pounds a day on travel. The NUS is lobbying the Association of London Government for lower fares for students.

London Transport is also piloting a scheme, in conjunction with Queen Mary and Westfield College, that gives students a discount.

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