Note from the Editor: this letter from the General Secretary Chester Community Voice will resonate with many in St Andrews.
Despite repeated requests from many town and gown groups, local authorities and university community groups over many years, the UK Government has persistently refused to legislate to make owners of Student Houses in Multiple Occupancy and of Purpose-Built Student Accommodations pay into local rate pots for the services their student guests get as well as evading the need to undertake a review of the long list of benefits these owner occupiers get to fund managing care of their properties. (many not even based in these 140 university towns and cities and often living abroad)
Residents and other businesses are asked to pay increasing amounts of money into the local rate pot for local services, now including the impact of the pandemic, while these student accommodation owners and investors get away with paying nothing for local services (this including over 120 MPs along with some Lords and their associates, families and friends who are investing in this sector and who also continue to pay nothing for these services).
There has long been an obvious need to bring together the group of MPs serving university towns in recognition of the need to introduce legislation to reform the situation so that these Student HMO and PBSA owners and investors start paying their fair share towards the cost of local services, this being a long-standing demand supported and promoted by the UK wide campaign group tackling this issue of which our local group is just one.
In pursuit of delivery of best practice by the body politic in service of the people, this is just one example of the need for Parliament to tackle this need as backed up ex PM Gordon Brown’s recent appeal to Government that a review be taken of the failing relationship between the people and its elected representatives.
As things stand the evasion and injustice over this issue by Parliament goes on.
In local community interest