Gillian Martin MSP has said that the Treasury must go further in its support measures for students as those without parental support and from low-income families are left without access to universal credits.
The Aberdeenshire East MSP warned that many students will face unemployment over the summer as bars and restaurants close and festivals are cancelled- a key provider of seasonal work for thousands of students during their recess.
In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ms Martin urged the UK Government to extend applications for Universal Credit temporarily to those in full-time education facing unemployment this summer due to the coronavirus outbreak as they need the same assistance that others without an income are entitled to.
Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with living costs that those on a low income or out of work are eligible to apply. However, students are not currently able to claim Universal Credit if they are studying full-time with only a few exceptions.
Commenting Gillian Martin MSP said
Students deserve the same amount of support as everyone else- that is why I am urging the UK Government to recognise the need for students to apply for Universal Credit.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on students across Scotland who are facing untold disruption to their studies and their lives.
Whether it’s the loss of work and pay or being charged for accommodation they are no longer staying in, enabling them to apply for Universal Credit would go a long way to easing the difficult situation many of our most vulnerable students find themselves in.
No-one should be left worse off as a result of a global pandemic out with their control, especially those who can’t call on their mum or dad for support or come from low-income families. The UK Government must look to extend Universal Credit to students and protect them from financial hardship.
You can read the letter below.