Ministers urged to set date for minimum student income
Scottish Labour said the policy for a set income of more than £8,000 could double financial support for the poorest students.
Ministers should set a date for bringing in a minimum student income of more than £8,000 a year which could double support for some of the poorest students, Labour has said.
The Scottish Parliament voted to introduce a minimum student income last month following a Labour-led debate.
Now, following the non-binding vote, the party has called for clarification on when it will be implemented.
The recommendation for a minimum income of £8,100, linked to the Scottish Government’s living wage, was a key part of an independent review of student support published in November 2017.
With the increase in the living wage to £9 an hour, this would now be £8,550, and is recommended to be provided through a mixture of loans and means-tested bursaries.
For too many, getting to university and college is only the beginning of the struggle.— Scottish Labour (@scottishlabour) March 23, 2019
It’s time our students got the financial support they need.
RT if you agree with Scottish Labour’s plans for a Minimum Student Income👇https://t.co/5O9T0sGhQS pic.twitter.com/pLXk7K4TFK
College students in Scotland are currently not eligible for student loans and the maximum bursary award is around £4,000 a year, meaning some of the poorest students would have financial support doubled by the plans.
Scottish Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray said: “A minimum student income could double the financial support available to the poorest students in further education.
“That would be a fair deal, as opposed to the raw deal they get just now.”
He added: “This plan is straight from the Government’s own independent review.
“Labour has already forced the Government to accept the recommendation – ministers must now outline a clear timetable of when students will get more money in their pockets.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We support the ambition set out in the Student Support Review to achieve a minimum income for students, however significant investment is required to make this happen.
“We have already begun to implement this by increasing the care-experienced bursary to £8,100 per year and we are providing students in further education with record levels of support – £111 million in 2018-19.
“This represents a real-terms increase of 33% since 2006-07, giving further education students in Scotland the best level of bursary anywhere in the UK.”