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Derry & Strabane Council should back student demands, says local councillor

People Before Profit councillor Eamonn McCann says students are amongst the hardest hit in this crisis

Eamonn McCann

A Derry councillor has called for financial support package in aid of students who have lost their source of income and in some cases been threatened with eviction by landlords.

People Before Profit Cllr Eamonn McCann said: "Young people are among the hardest hit financially in this crisis. This includes students. We shouldn't stand for a situation wherein landlords receive a state bailout and students are forced to pay rent for accommodation they're not using.

"Students should also be able to access benefits on the same basis as everyone else during this crisis. People Before Profit are urging all Councillors in the Derry and Strabane Council to back the motion supporting the NUS-USI student union campaign. The Stormont Executive has the ability to act on this immediately. 

People Before Profit Motion to April Derry and Strabane Council full meeting: 

"Landlords have been supported with mortgage holidays, VAT relief and rates relief but this is not being passed down to students. Despite receiving support from the public purse some landlords continue to demand full rent from student tenants.

Many students have lost their source of income as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Students are currently excluded from applying for benefits, resulting in students being threatened with eviction and legal action when unable to pay rent.

Council supports the NUS-USI demands and calls on the Stormont Executive to protect students during this crisis by implementing the following measures:

  •  A rent suspension for all students throughout the duration of this crisis.
  •  Students granted a penalty free option of terminating their tenancy
    contracts.
  •  Students be granted immediate access to apply for benefits.
  • All measures supporting students to be backdated to March 1st.

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