James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Students are paying to be 'literally trapped in accommodation' - University union boss says
28 September 2020, 20:46
There are students paying "a hell of a lot" money to be "literally trapped in accommodation" the General Secretary for the University and College Union has told Iain Dale.
Dr Jo Grady's words come as at least 30 universities have had Covid-19 outbreaks. Ministers have told students that, to avoid the spread of infection, they should relocate from their permanent residences to their student homes at the start of term.
Dr Grady told Iain: "I think for a lot of students the immediate concerns right now is that this was an entirely predictable situation.
"Our union, Independent SAGE and even the government's own SAGE report was reporting that there would be outbreaks in university buildings.
"They were lured back to campus anyway on the promise of a student experience and at the minute some of them are paying a hell of a lot of money to be literally trapped in accommodation."
Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green is calling for the Government to delay university start dates amid fears for the mental health of students confined to their rooms in halls of residence.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has today agreed to hold a further meeting with a Tory MP leading a rebellion over Parliament's ability to scrutinise Government-imposed coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Hancock told the House of Commons he would meet Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential Tory backbench 1922 Committee, to discuss matters further.
"This was avoidable," Dr Grady said to LBC presenter Iain Dale while talking about the plight of students.
She added: "For those that were able to, they could have stayed at home.
"For the staff who are employed at university, we could have spent this time really planning how we were going to deliver the support they needed for online studying and instead we've got all this chaos."