2009 Budget Special: Students

Another bloody expense! If there’s one thing that’s sticking in students’ mind beside the extortionate rise in bus fares, it’s the two per cent rise in alcohol duties. Since last week, the price of a pint will go up by one pence, a bottle of wine by four pence and you can expect a thirteen pence rise on a bottle of spirits.

But beneath these anti-ASBO taxes, lye a series of measures that might, just might, improve the student budget. One of the most immediate benefits is the government’s promise to provide everyone under the age of twenty-five out of work for twelve months or more a job or a place on a training scheme. It may not promise a high flying career in the City, but it’s an income, which – with the ISA allowance goes up to £10,200 next year – could also produce a healthy rate of interest.

This would be helpful for putting a deposit down on a house, which the government is also prepared to help with. The Budget saw an extension in the Stamp Duty holiday on properties sold for less than £175,000 until the end of the year. And if that’s not enough, you can sell your decade-old banger that you learnt to drive in for a tidy £2,000.

That said, you might need it. After announcing a shortage in places, budget squeezed universities are desperate to increase their tuition fees – including Warwick – and before we know it, we might well be borrowing more from the Student Loan Company.

Despite announcing an additional £300 million of capital funding for investment in Further Education colleges, the Budget has done nothing to satisfy, what Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, described as an ‘even greater urgency to find additional funding.’ If the Universities UK Report’s recommendations are adopted – as leading Vice-Chancellors are currently pushing for – , we could soon facefees of £6,500.

This would leave students with debts of £32,000 by the end of their three years. That, in most cases, will be a 50% rise in collected living and learning costs

Overall therefore, students are going to be feeling the squeeze more than ever this summer. With both graduate placement and summer jobs becoming sparse, it looks like that we might have to sacrifice a night at Kasbah or Smack, which isn’t always a bad thing.


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