Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Rose Conway-Walsh TD, has hit out at the government for failing to include any provision for student accommodation for a third consecutive budget.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“Student and parents will look at this budget and see that, once again, no funding has been allocated for student accommodation.
“It shows a complete lack of sincerity from the government in how they address the crisis that students and families are facing trying to secure and afford housing.
“The student accommodation crisis is more severe than it has ever been. Yet, this is the third consecutive budget from this government with no allocation for student accommodation.
“Shovel ready projects that could deliver 3,000 student college-owned beds are sitting on the shelf as a result of government inaction.
“Families are being crippled by rents. Others are being forced to commute crazy distances or defer their courses.
“Colleges have issued a warning on deferrals with early indication that they could be up 20%.
“Students from smaller towns and rural areas are particularly disadvantaged by the housing crisis.
“I have called on Minister Harris to go back to his government colleagues and urge them to make funding available that will get student accommodation projects onsite and under construction.
“The fact that students and their families won’t benefit from the tax rebate on rent is also unfair and must be looked at.
“PhD researchers are also excluded because they are denied worker status and instead paid stipends far below the minimum wage.
“More needs to be done urgently for student renters and to address the supply of student accommodation.”