The president of Newcastle Students' Union has spoken out at proposed changes to business taxes, stating that if business rates are applied to halls of residence in the area, the extra cost will be passed on to students. His comments come in light of ones made by City Council leader Nick Forbes , who has recently suggested that business rates should be applied to all student homes.
Students' Union president Dominic Fearon stated that these higher rates for developers would just push up rents, which he argues will leave students "paying council tax in a different form". In a statement on Newcastle University's website he went on to say, "If business rates are applied to halls of residence it will very likely result in students rent increasing considerably and making the local universities significantly less appealing to future students considering where to apply.
"Students debt is worse now than ever, in the past five years we have seen tuition fees triple and we have recently seen maintenance grants completely taken away. This change will result, in effect, in students paying council tax in a different form but to the same ends.
"There is a reason students do not pay council tax - they do not have a significant income. Please consider where you are putting this burden and do not dissuade future students from coming to our city."
The reason for the hike in taxes was explained by Councillor Stephen Powers as being due to a lack of governmental support as pressure mounts to provide additional services. He further argued that students don't pay council tax and developers (who the tax would ostensibly target) make huge profits from operating their developments.