Ben HaywardNovember 18th

The University of Manchester has announced a two-week rent reduction in a bid to end student protests on campus.  

On top of the reduction, students will also be able to leave their accommodation whenever they want without the risk of being penalised financially under new proposals. 

However, the response from the university’s rent strike group was that the offer is ‘not good enough’. 

Tweeting on Tuesday, the UoM Rent strike said: “This morning we were given an insulting offer of a two-week rent reduction.”

The group said they would like at least a 40% rent reduction for the rest of the academic year, adding that their demand ‘remains the same’ despite the announcement from the university.

The rent strikers are currently occupying a disused accommodation building on campus, refusing to move until they meet with the vice-chancellor and their demands are met. 

They are seeking a reduction to their rent following the cancellation of  face-to-face classes and a number of issues surrounding accommodation.

One striker told The Independent he was unhappy with the cost of fees while campus facilities were reduced due to coronavirus.

Speaking to The Independent, a University of Manchester spokesperson said senior staff had met with student representatives over the weekend to discuss their concerns, and as a result new measures have now been announced including ‘a reduction in rent, more flexible accommodation contracts, and increased study spaces’.

The two-week reduction in rent for all students in university owned accommodation would work out at a roughly 20% saving on the remaining weeks this term, according to the university.

However, the National Union for Students (NUS) said last week that it believed university students across England should get a rent rebate if they follow government guidance and go home during the early December ‘travel window’.

Speaking to The Independent, NUS President, Larissa Kennedy said the organisation believes that students who follow the guidance should receive money off their term-time accommodation rent. 

She said: “We call for rent rebates for students who choose to leave university accommodation and study from home. 

“Now that it is clear students will be expected to leave term-time accommodation earlier than usual, we believe students who leave in the advised timeframe should receive rebates for the weeks they will not be in their accommodation.

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