Laurie Chen reports on the latest student demonstration against the government’s planned cuts to maintenance grants
Earlier today, a few hundred students attended an emergency demonstration organised by the NCAFC (National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts) to protest against the government’s planned cuts to student maintenance grants.
It was scheduled a few days ago to coincide with the parliamentary debate called by Labour over the government’s plans to sell off student maintenance grants to private loan companies. Many of the UK’s poorest students rely on maintenance grants to fund their living costs through university, receiving up to £3,387 per year based on their parental income.
Students assembled with banners and placards in Parliament Square from 12.30pm onwards. Labour MP Clive Lewis gave a speech in support of the protesters’ cause.
According to the police statement, at around 1.15pm protesters moved towards Westminster Bridge, where they carried out a sit-down occupation on the carriageway. At the time of writing, several hundred students are still occupying Westminster Bridge, which has been sealed off in both directions by police cordons.
The NCAFC notably organised the #GrantsNotDebt demonstration on Nov 4, which saw hundreds of students march to the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation (BIS) to protest against planned government cuts to higher education.
UPDATE: The Tories won the debate to cut maintenance grants by 14 votes.
Image credits: Twitter