24 February 2016
Sian Berry will set an annual Student Living Rent to help curb rampant accommodation costs if she is elected Mayor, she announced today.
The calculation, designed along similar lines to the Living Wage system that Greens have championed at City Hall, will be based on cost-of-living data and typical student incomes. It will help students put pressure on academic institutions to provide at least half their accommodation at or below the Student Living Rent.
According to an initial estimate by London Young Greens, on whose research the policy is based, the Student Living Rent for the capital would be £110 a week. Analysis suggests that the overwhelming majority of university-controlled accommodation in London would not qualify as affordable.
Sian Berry said today: “Apart from fees and cuts, rents are the new way in which students are being impoverished and exploited. Young people in our universities desperately need a Student Living Rent because life is difficult enough for them already without the kind of extortionate charges many of them are being asked to pay.
She noted that her proposal for a London Renters Union, first announced last month, would help students renting from market landlords.
“For students not in university-controlled accommodation, the high cost of living is made worse by the difficulty in finding safe and healthy places to live. The Renters Union will help private tenants stand up to rogue landlords and will lobby for radical reforms including rent controls.”
Ryan Coley of London Young Greens said: "London is becoming one of the most expensive cities in the world to go to university. When I set out to look into student rent costs I knew they were expensive but even I was shocked at quite how exorbitant they are across the board. We should either accept that this city is going to be a no-go area for students from any but the wealthiest backgrounds, or we should do something about it.”