Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has called on the Government to ensure that students receive the support they need during the coronavirus crisis.
Wera Hobhouse coordinated a cross-party letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking the Government to help students who have lost their employment.
The letter, signed by 18 MPs from across three different parties who represent university towns, asks the Chancellor to “make sure that students are not the group to be forgotten as the nation is grappling with economic fall-out from the Covid19 crisis.”
Wera Hobhouse acted after hearing from local students from the University of Bath.
There is concern that the employers of students will be less likely to go through the administrative costs of placing their staff on furlough.
In temporary student jobs with high employee turnover, it is easier to serve notice to the employee and then hire from the new cohort of students wanting to fill the vacancies next year.
Full-time students are also not eligible for Universal Credit, meaning that they do not have access to the safety nets available to non-student employees.
One of the students who contacted Wera had already been laid off.
The student is in his final year at the University of Bath and worked for three years in the hospitality sector.
He said: “For every weekend for three years up until March 17 2020, I worked an average of 20 hours per week, alongside my full-time degree.
“I have to do this in order to pay for my rent, food, books and study supplies. Now that I have been forced out of part-time employment, I am unable to make ends meet with just my student loan and the small amount of savings that I have left.”
Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said: “Many students have part-time or temporary jobs that allow them to pay the bills whilst they study. Like millions across the UK their work has disappeared over the last few weeks, but very few students are eligible under any of the proposed support schemes the Government are offering, including universal credit.
“Alongside university students having to worry about what will happen with their studies, many will now be wondering how they will afford the next few months.”