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£3.5 billon loss for university towns following pandemic

Written by Coronavirus, Current Affairs, National, News

Newcastle’s economy has lost £88 386 255 in the last six months as students moved home for lockdown.

University towns and cities across the UK have suffered financially, with London topping the charts with £580 964 400 lost over the last six months. 

Research by Studee finds that Newcastle was the 12th hardest hit UK city or town since students left in March.

“It’s no wonder the government has been so keen to get students back to university”

Laura Rettie, Vice President of Studee
Biggest overall economic losses to UK towns and cities due to the coronavirus pandemic, calculated according to the number of students who live there.
Image: Studee

For university towns, the student move home for lockdown has resulted in money lost on groceries, takeaways, socialising (such as bars and restaurants), transport, clothes, health and wellbeing and gifts and charities. 

“Students bring a huge amount of money into the areas they choose to study in – money many small towns simply can’t afford to lose,” says Laura Rettie, Vice President of Studee.

“Sadly for many university towns across the country the economic pain is likely to be felt for many years to come.”

In Newcastle, a £11 913 630 loss over the past six months can be attributed to the closure of takeaways. This constitutes 13.5% of Newcastle’s overall losses in the past six months. 

However, smaller towns such as Egham, Warwick and Durham, where the student population makes up a larger proportion of their overall population, have been the hardest hit. 

Durham, whose students account for 40% of the population, is likely to have suffered huge losses of around £17 million. As students left the University, £1.5 million won’t have been spent on takeaways and over £7 million on groceries.

This study comes at a time when the Government has encouraged students to return to their university towns for the upcoming academic year. 

“It’s no wonder the government has been so keen to get students back to university, despite the fact mass movement of young people during a pandemic probably isn’t the wisest course of action”, says Laura Rettie, Vice President of Studee.

“Students have recently been blamed for coronavirus outbreaks, but we shouldn’t be using students as scapegoats when it was the government who urged them to get back to campus, with no clear guidance about studying online instead”

As well as university towns and cities struggling economically, 80% of students have struggled financially and 13 UK universities are at risk of going bust as a result of the pandemic. 

Boris Johnson is set to outline further lockdown restrictions on Monday.

Downing Street adviser Sir Edward Lister tells the BBC that new restrictions “must seek to strike the right balance between driving down transmission, and safeguarding our economy and society from the worst impact.”

Featured Image: Getty images

Last modified: 10th October 2020

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