NUS MEMBERSHIP UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) 25 March 2020
Our number one priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of the students and apprentices we represent, so we have been working closely with institutions, trade unions, national sector bodies like Universities UK and the Association of Colleges, the Student Loans Company, and the government to inform our response to Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Here’s an update of what we are doing on your behalf to ensure your interests are represented as we tackle this pandemic:
- We've written to Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP asking for greater financial support for SUs to deal with Covid-19 and to reverse decisions regarding retroactive VAT payments.
- NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe met with Richard Lochhead MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Science this morning
- We raised your concerns about student support, employment and housing. We confirmed that all childcare payments should still be made and travel payments in colleges should now be directed to discretionary or hardship funds. The upper limit of £4000 on hardship support has already been relaxed
- We urged the government to advise accommodation providers, both private sector providers and institutions, to allow students to cancel their rental contracts early with no penalties
- We emphasised that in both housing and student support there needs to be consistency for students, and that the current patchwork of different institution policies needed a more uniform approach
- NUS Wales President Rob Simkins put students' unions' questions to the Welsh Government in a meeting, which covered housing, alternative forms of assessment and support for the most vulnerable students
- Rob has written to Julie James, the Welsh Government's Housing Minister, calling for additional protections for the tens of thousands of students in the private rented sector in Wales
- We attended a National Council for Voluntary Organisations meeting covering what charity boards need to be considering in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
- We held our first set of student officer Skype sessions on Tuesday and over 150 of you joined across Skype sessions in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. The information you shared with each other was invaluable. We’ll post the notes of the meeting and the slides on the Cornavirus hub tomorrow.
- We’re running the weekly meetings, so get involved to stay connected and informed: Scotland officers weekly Skype, 2pm every Tuesday; Wales officers weekly Skype, 3pm every Monday; Northern Ireland officers weekly Skype, 3.45pm every Tuesday; Midlands every 1pm Tuesdays; North 1pm Tuesdays; and South 1pm Tuesdays
- We’ve simplified the business of National Conference as much as possible: with all full-time officer elections open now, until 5pm on Tuesday 31 March. Eligible voters will have received an email from us (check your junk mail). If you haven’t contact your email, email us
- Virtual National Conference will be taking place next Tuesday 31 March and Wednesday 1 April via our conference website which has all the content you need to participate
- We expect to launch the Coronavirus Survey on Friday