Over the last few months, the UK and Scottish Governments have taken some action in response to the cost of living crisis. We’re going to attempt to explain this – information here is accurate to our knowledge at the time of publishing.
UK Government Actions
From winter 2022-spring 2023 the UK Government put in place a few measures including the Energy Price Guarantee (now replaced by the Ofgem Price Cap), a one-off energy payment, and some speicfic payments for certain groups.
For 2023-24, there is some short-lived support for the cost of living for some groups:
- People on certain means-tested benefits will receive £900 in cost of living support payments, split up into 3 payments from spring 2023-spring 2024
- Some people born before 25 September 1957 can recieve the Winter Fuel Payment of up to £600
- People on certain disability benefits should have received a one off payment of £150 in the summer of 2023. If you still have not received this and you are eligible to, see this article for who you should contact.
Scottish Government Actions
From winter 2022-spring 2023, the Scottish Government put in place a few cost of living support measures, including a rent freeze, an evictions ban, and an increase in the Scottish Child Payment.
As of summer 2023:
- The eviction ban is still in place till 30 September 2023. The Scottish Government plans to extend this to March 2024, but we have not had official confirmation yet. This means that some evictions can be delayed for up to 6 months. This ban is not absolute, and evictions can still occur in cases of high rent arrears or in cases of antisocial or criminal activity. This does not apply to tenants living with their landlords.
- The rent cap is in place till 30 September 2022, and like the eviction ban, the Scottish Government plans to extend it to March 2024. This rent cap applies to people with private residential tenancies, assured tenancies, and short-assured tenancies (most students will be on private residential tenancies). It does not apply to Purpose Build Student Accommodation or University Halls. Your landlord can increase your rent by 3% if they send you a valid rent increase notice, or by 6% if they apply to Rent Service Scotland.
What the University and Students’ Association are doing
The University has set up a Cost of Living Taskforce, which includes representation from the Students’ Association, which is focussing on:
- Low cost and free provision of food and drink
- Access to warm social spaces
- Supporting access to part time employment
- Working with student groups to promote lower cost and more sustainable groceries.
The University has created a Cost of Living webpage which will be kept up to date with the latest information on provision.