Wednesday 23-09-2015 - 16:45
Just before I went to bed on Thursday evening, although it was probably already Friday by then, I had one last check of Twitter. The #CutTheCosts hashtag was full of officers and activists waiting in anticipation for our constituency lobby day.
That day of action had one purpose; to show local MPs that scrapping maintenance grants will have consequences. It will be the hundreds of thousands of students who rely on these grants that will take the direct hit.
An already unaffordable education system, together with a government hell-bent on increasing personal debt will mean education, will be even further out of reach for too many people.
That is why I couldn’t be prouder of our movement than I was when I went to bed on Friday night. Students’ unions across the country put their heart and soul into ensuring our message was taken straight to MPs. The case-studies you went armed with, the actions you organised outside their offices and the vital meetings you held.
On Friday we amplified what we have been saying ever since Osborne announced the cuts in his budget: that cutting maintenance grants is wrong. Hundreds of you spoke to your MPs who took to the airwaves throughout the day to show their support. Many of those politicians have also signed a motion in Parliament to force a vote on maintenance grants.
We need to keep up the pressure now and make sure MPs who told us they would support our cause now take on this fight as their own.
If you want dedicated support in lobbying and campaigning your local MPs in the weeks ahead you should get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But Friday was just the start of our campaign - today I’m announcing that I want us to take legal action too.
Yesterday I instructed lawyers to start the process of taking legal proceedings against the Government.
Today, a ‘judicial review pre-action letter’ was sent to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Business. That means we are demanding that the government meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and take immediate action to ensure us that they have considered the impact of these changes.
That is their legal requirement. The government’s own responses in Parliament have raised significant doubts over their compliance in having conducted an assessment before deciding to scrap maintenance grants in the Budget.
We know the huge damage this change will have if it is allowed to happen. Your actions on Friday, and throughout the last few weeks, has continued to demonstrate this to the government. It is now time they come clean on how this reckless decision was made.
I am prepared to ensure NUS explores all legal avenues open to us to help support our campaign to put a stop to these changes – and that is what I am announcing today. Together by taking action locally to put the pressure on MPs, and taking national and legal action, I know we can ensure these changes never come into effect.
In the meantime don’t forget you can find out how to take action on #CutTheCosts and the campaign to save maintenance grants here
If you didn’t get a chance over the weekend, you should take a look at the hashtag #CutTheCosts. I’ve looked through all the amazing work that the student movement – that we - did on Friday.
You can also see a snapshot of the actions across the whole of the UK here
Don’t forget NUS is also joining the TUC National Demonstration outside Conservative Party conference on Sunday 4th October. You can find out details about the demonstration here and how you can join to make your voice heard.
Thank you for your hard work and I couldn’t be prouder to be fighting this campaign with you.