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Bristol Students Go on Strike Over Rent

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Bristol University students have gone on strike over increasing university accommodation costs.

They argue the high cost of living is resulting in students from working class background being put off attending university.

According to the Cut The Rent campaign, the university has increased the cost of living in halls of residence by an average of 4.5% in the last year and is set to impose a further 3.5% increase this year.

A spokesperson for the group suggested Bristol should be an inclusive university. They added: "Your financial background should not determine your chance to study at a good university."

The group claimed that a number of students are working nearly full-time hours on top of their courses, just to make ends meet. They suggest that due to student loans being capped at £8,200, those whose parents are unable to provide financial support, have almost no option but to work.

They estimated that the average cost of self-catered accommodation at Bristol University is £5,807 for a 42-week tenancy.

Those taking part in the protest are refusing to pay their campus accommodation fees until the university cuts rent costs back to 2015/16 levels, which represents a decline of around 4.5%.

In addition to refusing to pay rent, students have demanded university bosses release detailed accounts of the running and maintenance costs of halls and to make sure "genuinely affordable" accommodation is available to students from September 2018.

Commenting on the protest, the university said it doesn't make a profit from residential accommodation and simply seeks to cover its costs. They also argued the price of accommodation is similar to that of other universities in the south of England and competitive to the private rented market.