James Coe is Deputy President at Liverpool Guild of Students and has been campaigning to prevent the proposed government cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA):
“After months of student campaigning about the government cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowance, I am delighted to announce that the proposals will now not be happening this year.
The proposals – which were announced in April this year – would have seen funding for disabled students reduced and no longer covering additional costs of specialist accommodation, standard computers (plus warranties and insurances on computers) and non-specialist non-medical help.
Students Unions’ across the country took part in campaigning to voice their concerns over the cuts and our efforts have paid off in a highly significant turnaround of events. Proposals have now been put on hold for two years to allow for appropriate time to listen to the concerns of students and students’ unions, and to make sure that any changes do not negatively impact on disabled students.
As part of our own campaigning measures, I delivered a statement at a Liverpool City Council meeting in July to explain our reasons for the resistance to the cuts, and to support the Mayor’s plans to send a letter to the Minister for Universities and Science in opposition to the changes to DSA.
Following my statement, the Mayor and council meeting attendees described the cuts as “immoral and unfair” and unanimously agreed that a letter outlining concerns should be sent to The Rt Hon Greg Clark, the minister responsible for Universities and Science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
I speak for the entire Guild when I say that we are glad that we have been listened to. Research by the National Union for Students confirmed that 59% of disabled respondents were worried about not having enough financial support while at University. Money provided from DSA is vital for these students succeeding in their studies, and we believe cuts to funding would provide a barrier to this happening.
We’re hopeful that the Government will now use the next two years to seriously consider the impact their proposals would have on vulnerable students.”