Thank you for your correspondence about the impact of the cost of living crisis on students.
The rising bills and costs that have been seen in recent months are having a real impact on household finances across the country, forcing many to choose between heating their homes and eating. These pressures will only increase during the winter months.
Students and apprentices are facing the same pressures, and for many, this situation will be impacting on their mental wellbeing too. 90% of students surveyed by NUS said that the cost of living had negatively impacted on their mental health, and the most common reasons for dropping out of university were student mental health and money worries. Clearly more must be done to mitigate the impact of the cost of living on students and create a more positive environment for student wellbeing.
Scottish Labour is committed to tackling the cost of living crisis. In our cost of living plan, among other measures on housing costs and financial insecurity we called for the Scottish Government to make public transport more affordable by ruling out an inflation-based fare rise in January 2023, and instead commit to freezing rail fares for the whole of 2023. We also called for the Scottish government to provide local authorities with the resources to implement a cap on bus fares. You can read the full plan here.
My colleague Martin Whitfield, Scottish Labour’s Spokesperson for Young People, raised the issue in parliament, citing the case of a student who was forced to go to the library because her flat was cold. He also raised the conditions students are facing with the First Minister and asked her to commit her government to supporting NUS Scotland’s Fighting for Students campaign. You can see this contribution here.
Scottish Labour will continue to press the government on this issue and support action to improve the living conditions and experience of students and apprentices across Scotland.