Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Former Universities Minister calls for student's rent to be cancelled
8 January 2021, 13:33
Former Universities Minister Lord David Willetts tells LBC students should have their rent reduced or cancelled while they aren't allowed to use their accommodation.
Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari the former Minister said he could "completely understand the difficulties that students face."
The peer acknowledged in some cases university students have the "obligation to pay rent" at "the same time they are being told not to go to university and not to move into that accommodation," due to coronavirus.
"I fully understand their unhappiness and the need to do something to help students, particularly in those circumstances."
Nick asked Lord Willets if he could divine a path forwards, which led to the ex-Minister setting out the details as he understood them.
"What we're dealing with here is a classic problem if a tenant and a private landlord," he told LBC.
The conversation comes after The Tab reported Sheffield University students were preparing to strike against rent payments on their return to the city after Christmas break. In what has been described as one of the largest rent strikes in four decades.
Boris Johnson said Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is set to provide an update about support for university students impacted by the latest lockdown restrictions.
The answer came in reply to a question from a university student about the financial impact of the pandemic given that many pupils are being told to stay home and cannot access their places of learning or rented accommodation.
The Conservative Party leader said: "I think we need to look very hard at the deal that students are getting.
"We need to see what more we can do, frankly, to support students and to help them in what has been a very, very difficult time.
"Of course, at the moment they are not able to go back to their universities, except in a very few key practical courses, and I know how frustrating that is and I know the financial frustrations that that entails.
"I can tell you that we are looking at that now and that you'll be hearing more about that from the Education Secretary."