Today the Minister for Universities, Science and Cities made a written statement – postponing the planned cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowances which the LibDem/Tory Coalition announced last spring. In view of the problems Universities would have had stepping into the breach left by the cuts, Greg Clark has agreed to put them off – until autumn 2016.
Alex Sobel has campaigned very hard on this issue. Disability is a cause dear to his heart – and he has a track record of real achievement in helping disabled people fulfil their potential.
When the cuts were announced last spring he was appalled. He immediately gave his backing to the National Union of Students’ Campaign against the cuts.
He spoke passionately in Council on the subject
And he launched his own petition against the cuts.
So naturally he’s delighted to hear that there’s been a rethink – but less happy that they appear simply to have been postponed.
What he said in spring still applies.
‘To expect already hard pressed institutions to fill the gap left by withdrawing government funding is frankly ludicrous.
But it is fundamentally wrong to attack those who are already under most strain – though it is typical of this coalition.’
The cuts are unjust. And to say that hard pressed Universities will be able to fill in the hole that has been left for Disabled Students is a nonsense. This postponement just rams that point home. Even the LibDem/Tory Coaaition now recognises how hard it will be for cash-strapped Universities to step in here.
So Alex will be continuing to campaign on this one.
Incidentally, as we reported in the spring, our LibDem MP, Greg Mulholland, was at Westminster on the day the cuts were debated – but failed to speak in, and, as far as we can tell, even to turn up for the debate.
Not everyone shares Alex’s sense of priorities here.
For more information from us sign up here