Wednesday 10-02-2016 - 10:48
Edinburgh University Students’ Association fought hard as part of the #CutTheCosts campaign for the protection of maintenance grants received by their students from England and Wales.
Whilst the scrapping of maintenance grants in England and Wales will affect Scottish student associations differently, EUSA lobbied tirelessly against the UK government’s proposals.
Nearly 1,500 students from England and Wales currently rely on a maintenance grant for support at Edinburgh University, many of whom told EUSA that they would not have chosen to attend without it.
EUSA’s External Campaigns rep joined a collection of Scottish students’ unions and students’ associations travelling down to the Westminster lobby day in December.
Local MP Tommy Sheppard was being personally met in London and the students’ association made their campus busy with activity for the Week of Action.
Students wrote letters to their MPs and took pictures with a whiteboard detailing why they cared about maintenance grants. Photos of their campaign can be found here.
When student lobbying forced a debate in January, EUSA got on the phone to their MPs ahead of the vote to ensure that pressure was maintained.
They also phoned Lords ahead their debate and secured a pledge of support from Lord Thomas Murray Elder.
EUSA said: “It was outrageous that something so important to so many people was not even initially going to a vote.
“The very least we could do was lobby our local Members of Parliament to force a debate and vote. We still hoped we could overturn this dreadful policy until the very end.
“We need to cut the costs facing students rather than vital support for low income students.
“Though the final result was a terrible one, this campaign showed the potential power of collective action.
“It was only by working together with NUS and students’ unions across the country that we were able to force the government to debate something they wanted to keep behind closed doors.”