Deputy President of Liverpool Guild of Students, James Coe, has been exploring the potential impact of government plans to cut the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA):
“As part of our campaign to save the Disabled Students’ Allowance we have been gathering the stories from disabled students about how DSA has affected their time at University.
“For me, what stands out in every submission is not only the importance of DSA, but how students acutely feel the injustice of these cuts. One submission ends by stating that ‘we can’t go forward as a society if the most vulnerable are dragged backwards’.
“Cuts to DSA prompt the fundamental question of what do we want education to be about and what is the purpose of students’ unions? The actions of students’ unions across the country suggest we want an education system that allows students to get on by catering to their needs. The actions of the government suggest that students should get on in spite of their needs.
“We recently welcomed Councillor Nick Small, Louise Ellman MP, Maria Eagle MP and Martin Dobson Parliamentary Candidate Riverside, to Liverpool Guild of Students to hear their thoughts on cuts to DSA. Given the importance of collective action on this we were also delighted to welcome, Jawanza from the NUS NEC, Dan Cole VP Community from LiverpoolSU, Ben Ramsdale President of Liverpool Hope Students’ Union, and Pete Downey VP Welfare and Community from Liverpool Hope Students’ Union.
“In her former role in government working on issues surrounding disabled people, Maria Eagle spoke passionately about the effects of cuts on disabled people. She was especially keen to emphasise the importance of funding like DSA because it allows disabled people to control their own funding requirements, rather than having others telling them how much and what help they need.
“The panel was unanimous in stating that these campaigns are most successful when we listen to disabled people and act as a students’ union in their interest.
“The panel members have since shown their support using the pledge and campaign cards and our goal is to continue to amplify the voice of a set of students who the government is trying to silence.
“We have asked the MPs to sign the Early Day Motion that has been established in Parliament by David Blunkett and have already seen some great profile on social media.
“This funding is vital, not only to enable students to come to University, but also to ensure they are able to stay here. Only together, as a national movement working with all of our members, can we beat this cut.”
By James Coe – Deputy President, Liverpool Guild of Students