To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 24 April 2023 to Question 180273 on Students: Cost of Living, if she will take steps to implement the recommendations within the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Students report on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on students, published on 22 March 2023.
27 April 2023
The government recognises the additional cost of living pressures that have arisen this year and that have impacted students. The department notes the recommendations made by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Students and is carefully assessing the impact of the cost of living increase on students.
The department has continued to increase maximum loans and grants for living and other costs for undergraduate and postgraduate students each year and has also increased the amount available for hardship funding. This is in addition to support that comes directly from higher education (HE) providers.
Furthermore, we boosted our student premium funding support so now there is £276 million of available this academic year to support disadvantaged students who need additional help.
All households saved on their energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme discount. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount. The Energy Prices Act passed on 25 October 2022 includes the provision to require landlords to pass benefits they receive from energy price support, as appropriate, onto end users. Further details of the requirements under this act are set out in the legislation.
The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding will provide £400 support to those households without a direct relationship to a domestic electricity supplier in England, Scotland and Wales, who have faced increased energy bill costs since 1 October 2022. This will include students in privately rented accommodation, where they receive their energy from an intermediary (such as a landlord or letting agency) who holds a commercial electricity contract.
Students whose bills are included in their rent, including energy charges, will typically have agreed their accommodation costs upfront when signing their contract for the current academic year.
Together with the HE sector, the department is doing all that it can to support students facing hardship. However, decisions on student finance have to be taken alongside other spending priorities to ensure the system remains financially sustainable and the costs of HE are shared fairly between students and taxpayers, not all of whom have benefited from going to university.