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Students join campaign for affordable housing!
Sebastian Robyns-Landricombe, Cardiff Socialist Students
As students, we've all felt it. That grim punch to the gut that comes with the first of every month. I'm talking about rent.
When we arrive at university it's as if we're opening up the next exciting stage of our lives. University - we're told from knee high - is 'the best time of your life'.
However, our families tend to wince when we mention the costs - and I'm not talking about the nice 45K debt the average student leaves with now. I'm talking about the monthly cost we pay just for the right to have a roof over our heads.
The cost of university halls has doubled in the past ten years - with Cardiff first year students paying an average of £95 a week.
The problem becomes even more apparent when you decide to move into a house, or flat. In the last three years alone, monthly private rent has increased by a harrowing 25%. That's all before we start talking about agency fees and bonds.
The Guardian estimates that at this moment the price of purpose-built student accommodation and private housing consume 95% of the average student's maintenance loan.
So what's the cause of the sky-rocketing rents we have no option but to pay?
The answer is simple, a shortage of housing stock that allows predatory pricing and exploitative practices.
The university, the private landlords and the money-grabbing agencies think they have an entirely captive market. They think they have the ability to charge as they please, and are doing just that.
It's not just students who are being shamelessly exploited either. Cardiff Council has reported a massive increase in the demand for homeless services and support services for those unable to make ends meet.
Is it any wonder why so many students have to rely on part time jobs, or that painful phone call to mum and dad, or even drop out? Is it any wonder food banks are so busy?
We have a choice to make, do we either lie back and just accept the situation - or do we do what students have been doing for generations, and show them we're not going to take it!
That's why Cardiff Housing Action Group was set up. It's a group that's fighting to end the rent rip-off, by imposing rent caps and abolishing agency fees.
On 17 October the 'Wales March for Homes' will be flooding into the streets around Cardiff city hall to demand an end to exploitation of Cardiff residents. It's great that Cardiff University Student Union has agreed to support the march. Socialist Students is calling for an effective campaign to encourage as many students as possible to participate.
We are calling NUS Wales and the NUS nationally to back the march too.
So if you're sick of worrying about whether you can afford to enjoy being a student, take a stand and make the change yourself. Join us and say no to student exploitation, and yes to a better future for us all!
- Slash rents: for genuinely affordable university accommodation
- Stop privatisation! Bring privatised halls back 'in-house'
- Local authority rent controls to stop spiralling costs for all
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In The Socialist 16 September 2015:
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