Saturday, 23 August 2014

Welsh Labour scrap grant for hard up students without debate.

The Wasting Mule reports that the..
The Welsh Government has been accused of breaking its pledge to support students after scrapping a £2m grant designed to help those who experience financial problems while at -University
The National Union of Students (NUS) in Wales said a surprise decision to withdraw the Financial Contingency Fund (FCF) was compounded by the fact it had been taken so close to the start of term next month
It also seems to have made when the assembly is in recess thus preventing opposition AMs from questioning the Minster

Somewhat  similar to Nick Cleggs pledge to the National Union of Students before the 2010 general election not to raise tuition fees,  Ahead of the 2011 Assembly election the majority of serving AMs, including the now  Education Minister Huw Lewis and First Minister Carwyn Jones, backed an NUS Wales campaign to protect student support – including the FCF – for the life of the next administration.

NUS Wales president Beth Button accused the Welsh Government of taking “a page out of the Westminster playbook”, likening its scrapping of the FCF – which currently supports around 5,000 students – to the UK coalition’s controversial decision to treble tuition fees.
She said: 
“The decision to announce this just weeks before the start of the academic term will not only leave many students who rely on this funding deeply concerned about their finances but universities with no time to find alternative ways to fill this black hole. For many students this funding is vital in supporting them to stay in education.
As the Mule points out .this is aimed at students in Higher education

The FCF was introduced in 1991 to support further education (FE) and higher education (HE) students facing financial difficulties and who, without support, would be likely to leave their education.
Annual funds are made available by the Welsh Government to individual institutions to administer to students on a discretionary basis. It helps students struggling to pay their rent, travel costs, food bills, and childcare and is used to fund books and other learning materials.
The FCF will be retained in the FE sector for the coming 2014-15 academic year but the Welsh Government wrote to universities this week to inform them of their decision to pull funding for HE.
Aled Roberts, education spokesman for the Liberal Democrats,  who seems to not gone on Holiday yet said: 
“Welsh Labour claims that it wants to widen access to HE for disadvantaged students but this decision does exactly the opposite.“To pull this funding now, with just three weeks to go until the start of the new academic year, leaves both students and universities in the lurch at this crucial time.”
Somewhat hypocritical from a Lib Dem but accurate

Labour AMs seem to be on holiday because the Mule has to turn to "A spokesman" for the Welsh Government  who said: 
The continuing squeeze on budgets imposed by the UK Government has meant ministers having to take some difficult decisions across HE and FE budgets for academic year 2014-15.“We fully recognise that the delayed announcement of the cuts to FCF may cause difficulties for the HE sector but we’re pleased to be able to continue to support FCF in the FE sector.“HE institutions’ income has increased substantially through the increased fees charged to home students and recruitment of more international students... ministers consider that HE institutions are now able to use their own discretionary funds to aid their own students who face financial hardship.”
The spokesman warned 
“it is likely that further saving will have to be made in 2015-16”.
But we are talking about only £2 Milion and in light of the recent news that  a 61% rise in funding for subsidised meals for government staff in their canteens over the last three years to £422,800 in 2013/14. maybe savings in the Assembly building should be where they start.
It seems some students who may not be relying on parents to see them through HE may be living on Beans and Toast whilst Assembly member and staff  tuck into steamed supreme of Wye salmon with gratin of leeks and crispy bacon wafer for £3.50, while breaded pork escalope - served with seasonal cabbage and buttery mashed potato - was priced at £2.95. 
Where are the priorities I wonder?


  1. worse still Labour will get away with it as the sheeple who vote for them will either ignore it or blame it on the Tories for cutting budget at Westminster, this is Wales in the 21st century an English region in all but name.


    They got the City wrong but the rest is pretty accurate and it's another outsider this time the foreign press telling it like it is about the state of modern Wales that would never feature in BBC Wales, Trinity Mirror or any other welsh media.