Home sweet home for Edinburgh students - John McLellan
Setting aside the specifics of the unpopular application to build student flats at the corner of Jock’s Lodge, the views of local SNP MP Tommy Sheppard about the principle of study accommodation are intriguing.
I have no idea what the rooms were like when Tommy went up to Aberdeen in the 80s, but at Stirling at the same time, “sardine tin accommodation”, as he described new flats, was what I got. A bed, desk, wardrobe and a sink and that was it, and the rooms are still in use today.
The flats now being built by the likes of Unite are comparatively luxurious and spacious, so that seems somewhat unfair.
But for a former vice president of the National Union of Students to say that he doesn’t think purpose-built student accommodation is a good solution begs the question as to what is, given that’s what students have lived in for centuries.
More likely is an objection to private operators running the blocks, but that still begs the question of where students go when the local economy is increasingly reliant on a growing tertiary education sector.
Private or university-run, they still need somewhere to live.
And remember the SNP’s refusal to countenance tuition fees for home students means the universities rely on foreign students paying big fees to balance the books, and they demand accommodation on tap.
It’s all very well paying to the gallery, but if the SNP wants thriving universities it needs to decide who pays and how they flourish.