Yes, Stirling’s rent prices are too high, but let’s not blame the union

Or at least not the current one

Hide Images

Stirling’s rent prices are higher than a lot of us have ever seen before and more are blaming this year’s student union for not doing anything about bringing the prices down, but it’s not their fault.

It was not that long ago that staying on Stirling’s campus was not too unaffordable, with most prices between £300-400, people had enough money from loans to cover rent costs and actually live reasonably well.

Now, prices have sky-rocketed, with the basic of flats in some of the redeveloped halls costing £141 a week- £564 a month. It doesn’t take you too long to realise that with SAAS currently at £475-a-month, then living on campus becomes near on impossible. You either have to take up a part-time job, which eats away at not only your time to study, but also your soul. Even if that does cover the cost of rent, you still won’t have enough to actually live on. Then the only option is to go to Mum and Dad, a great feeling of independence.

With the redevelopment of campus accommodation set to continue, currently ‘affordable’ flats like those in Fraser of Allander will be demolished and then replaced with more expensive halls.

Due to the rise in prices, many people have, understandably, started to point the finger at who is to blame for this. Some pointing at the University themselves for setting these high prices, but most criticising the current student union for the rise.

These fingers are pointing in the wrong direction, they should point to the past.

This year’s student union have introduced a fund which will aid students in paying for their accommodation. A good measure, however, something like this should have been done years ago, the price freeze a couple of years ago wasn’t good enough.

The price of Geddes Court in 2013/2014 was £325 a month, or there or thereabouts. One of the lowest rates of accommodation at the time. However, when this price is considered, what were we paying for? Halls of up to eighteen people sharing effectively one shower and three toilets.

Plus, a kitchen which was crowded when there was five people in it, with a fridge that couldn’t chill the end of an eskimo’s nose. Finally, a room which made the occupant feel like a human shoe waiting for the lid to be opened and someone to try them on. The price was a disgrace.

This is the reason we cannot blame the current SU for the accommodation problem, the prices were too high to start with. Then when the uni started building new halls, obviously they were going to be a higher price. You can’t replace your car with a newer version of it and expect it to be cheaper, that’s not how economics work.

People expecting the prices of brand new halls to be a lower price than they are is just unrealistic, there should have been more work to reduce the ‘base price’ of the older halls, which never saw a reduction in preparation for the new, more expensive halls being built. Now, the lowest price for a flat on campus will be over £500 eventually when this redevelopment ends.

The high pricing then forces students into the city, which is not an easy option to take, where, yes they can find a flat which is considerably cheaper, but the flat wouldn’t be sold to any other person or would be a place you would be happy to let a dead dog live in. Plus, you have the expense of travelling to and from campus every day and then internet, water, electricity and heating to pay for and we’re not like Edinburgh or St Andrews- our campus is miles away from the city. This all adds up to an inadequacy in rent which could have been fixed years ago if the union weren’t happy to sit on their hands happy with their rent freeze.

The situation Keenan’s union have now is that the previous union broke an expensive vase, handed it to him with a role of sellotape and said “you fix it, it’s easy”.