I’m Harrison Catling, a third year politics student who came to uni in the middle of the pandemic. I’m also a low-paid hospitality worker. Why does this matter? I am representative of the students who have and will suffer most from covid and the cost of living crisis.
That’s why my campaign and focus as your NUS delegate is going to be centered around these three interconnected key issues:
1- cost of living crisis
It’s despicable that as our bills have shot up so rapidly the Scottish government has only increased the minimum SAAS payment by £50. I am aware of the valuable work NUS has put in to try and achieve SAAS over summer, I would continue to support this goal.
As a hospitality worker I’m all too aware of the hard realities surrounding working while living away from home for the first time and how stressful it can be trying to balance our studies and being able to make ends meet with and without SAAS.
It’s despicable that exploitative bosses can get away with paying young people less just because of their age. Given that NUS is a powerful influencer of political discourse I would use my position to bring these issues to the forefront.
As mentioned in my first point SAAS has gone up by less than £50 (for minimum claimants) whilst our living costs have increased far beyond this. It is not right that students across the UK face eye-watering rents, abusive practices from landlords and sub par conditions in affordable flats simply because they are students.Politicians are failing to act on this issue; which is why I would like to see student unions from across the uk come together with campaigners like living rent to demand a fair deal for tenants.
When you’re worried about making rent, paying bills and eating it has a severe effect on your mental health. The marketisation of higher education has seen universities across the country put profits before the mental health of students. In 2019 Gerry McCormac’s wage was higher than the entire mental health budget for the university. This is fundamentally wrong. Over the pandemic students were isolated from their peers with little to no support, only to be blamed for spikes in covid cases. I will fight passionately with fellow delegates for major changes to how mental health is handled at our universities with a focus on minority students and the unique experiences they face.