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Andrew condemns cuts to grant funding for disabled students

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Andrew Smith MP has today condemned the Lib Dem / Tory coalition government's proposals to cut grant funding for disabled students as "regressive" and "damaging."

Cuts to grants for disabled students (Disabled Students’ Allowances) were announced by the government in April, and have since been condemned by the National Union of Students as unfair.

The Disabled Students’ Allowance provides vital support for many disabled students, and the changes – to be rushed in next year, without proper consultation – are likely to put off or prevent some students from going to university.

Amongst growing concern, the National Union of Students are today lobbying the government for a rethink of the proposals.

Under the proposals, institutions – not the government – will now be responsible for providing support, resulting in a perverse incentive for universities not to accept disabled students, who can require greater support. Also proposed is the removal of grants for laptops and other learning equipment, withdrawal of non-medical support like note taking, and restrictions on specialist student living accommodation that disabled students may require.

Andrew has protested against these changes to the coalition government and today voiced his support for the NUS campaign, saying, “I am deeply concerned about this regressive measure to restrict funding, which cannot but damage access to education.

“Disabled people have been appallingly let down by the coalition government - vindictive policies like the bedroom tax and disastrous cuts to welfare and local government funding are already having an untold impact on people with disabilities. We have an obligation to ensure students with disabilities are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and I strongly urge the government to rethink these unjust proposals.”

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