In a speech in Parliament today Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, challenged the Government’s cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance budget. DSA provides support to disabled students to enable them to access higher education and help them study. 53,000 students currently receive DSA and the Government plans to slash the budget by 70%. Speaking in a debate on the cuts Mr Blomfield called on the Government to think again and highlighted the case of Kat Chapman, a Sheffield student who has benefited from DSA. You can read my speech in full atwww.theyworkforyou.com/whall/
In the debate Paul Blomfield said:
“The Minister has described the changes as “measures to modernise” DSA. It’s this sort of Orwellian double-speak that makes people cynical about politics. This isn’t about modernisation, it’s about making cuts to balance the books of his Department. And shamefully he’s chosen to do this off the back of disabled students.”
In his speech Mr Blomfield highlighted the case of Kat Chapman, one of the University of Sheffield’s outgoing Student Union Officers. Kat is dyslexic and received DSA whilst studying at Sheffield. She finished her degree with a high 2:1 and is “absolutely delighted” to be embarking on a Masters degree at Cambridge in the coming year. But, in her words, “this is overshadowed by the fear of not receiving the same help that I have done through my undergraduate degree.” You can read Kat’s story in full at http://dontcutusout.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/new-post/
Speaking after the debate Paul Blomfield said:
“Students from both Sheffield universities have told me their concerns over the cuts to the disabled students’ allowances. Disabled students are more likely to drop out than non-disabled students and if this cut goes ahead that situation will only get worse. I’m also very worried that this will deter disabled people from applying to university and fulfilling their potential. The Government needs to listen to disabled students and think again.”
Notes for Editors
1. Paul Blomfield is supporting the National Union of Students’ Degrees of Discrimination campaign http://www.nus.org.uk/en/take-action/liberation-campaigns/dontcutmeout—lobby-your-mp-over-cuts-to-dsa/
2. Research from NUS, a massive 98 per cent of disabled students who need specific software to help them with their studies acquired it through DSA.
3. NUS research has also found that 55 per cent of disabled students have already seriously considered leaving their course compared to 35 per cent of non-disabled respondents with 54 per cent reporting this was because of financial problems.