Student Loans Company says EU Students will still Receive Financial Support

Following the EU referendum, The Student Loans Company has been determined to reassure students from the EU and studying in Britain, that there will be no changes to their financial support, despite the fact that Britain are officially set to leave the EU. Students from the European Union that are set to start university courses in the UK this autumn, will have their funding honoured and those that are currently in university will have their financial support continued. A tweet from university minister Jo Johnson has confirmed that the UK has and will ‘welcome EU students’. By confirming it over Twitter, a widely used social media platform, Mr Johnson was determined to ensure he reached as many people as possible.

With many universities accommodating a large amount of studying EU students, as well as many students embarking on international exchanges and taking a year out to study abroad in research projects, universities have understandably been concerned about the implications of an unexpected Brexit. Although current and soon to be students have had news that their tuition funding is not to be affected by the result, there are stil concerns for those looking to go to university beyond 2016. With UCAS processes already started, potential EU students are left in the lurch with regards to their funding. Quite a proportion are expected to await a decision as with around 125,000 EU students in UK higher education, many will be expecting top attend university to continue their studies. It has been said that the UK’s controversial Brexit decision has created uncertainty for the future of higher education as they eventually become without EU funding. The UK is worryingly, currently one of the largest recipients of EU research funding, receiving 3.5bn euros between 2007 and 2013, and had contributed 5.4 bn euros.

Will a Brexit stop people people from pursuing a British higher education?

There are concerns that the Leave vote could mean that students from EU nations are treated just as any other international student. They will not be seen to be closely related to British students, and as a result of this there could be a hike in tuition fees as well as exclusion of EU students from British loan payments. Before a Brexit, the Eu’s free movement policy meant that EU students had the same access to universities as British students themselves, receiving loans to help pay fees. UK loan facilities are notoriously generous, only asking for a student loan to begin being paid back when an ex-student is earning 21,000 a year minimum. Without this help, university could become a very different experience for some EU students, many not attending due to not having the financial means necessary. Simon Gaskell, president and principal of Queen Mary University in London is thought to have issued a statement after the results of the referendum which stated that anyone from the EU wanting to attend his university would need not worry about their tuition fees. To any of those considering applying, their tuition fees would stay at £9000 annually, regardless of the changes the country will experience.


Keep Calm and Carry On – HMRC Assures Panicked Taxpayers

A shock EU referendum result has rocked the UK in the past week, and the effects that will ensue are concerning the majority of its citizens. There is no doubt that tough times are ahead, particularly where the economy is concerned, and it seems people are fretting over just how much of our system is going to be affected. HMRC has issued a message to reassure the that nothing has changed…yet.

HMRC were quick to issue a ‘carry on’ message that stated that no laws were changed since the result was released and a Brexit confirmed. The message is cleverly recorded and played out when the helpline is called. The audio assures callers of no change to any taxes, tax credits, general HMRC services or child benefits as a result of the referendum. Although it is somewhat of a given that financial services will change in the future, in the immediate aftermath, nothing has, or will be altered. Those that didn’t vote for a Brexit, or even those that did, are desperately anticipating the political changes that are in store. As chaos ensues, HMRC stresses that there is no need to contact HMRC as a result of the referendum as everything will run as normal.

There is no denying that the country is now at a risk of recession after leaving the European Union, and when the bigger picture is viewed, there will almost certainly be changes to tax laws and benefits, but if people start jumping the gun and ignoring tax deadlines, a financial deficit will come much sooner than expected.

Following the controversial result of the referendum, was the resignation of Prime minister David Cameron, which plunges the UK into further uncertainty. As a result of the UK’s departure, article 50 must be put into place, David Cameron has announced that it will not be triggered until a new Prime minister has been elected and there is a clearer picture of the country’s future. He wants to leave the dealings of article 50 (rules that apply to how a state leaves the EU) to his successor, as he notoriously campaigned for a ‘remain’ result. It is now left to decide who is strong enough to actually get things under way, with the risk of the collapse of a country on their shoulders. With so much at stake it begs the question, will the UK actually leave the Eu at all? The process has yet to begin and will definitely be a slow and lengthy one.

In agreement with David Cameron, Leave campaigners such as Boris Johnson and George Osbourne have agreed that Article 50 should not be triggered immediately, with a slow and careful exit of the EU being safer and more logical. Whilst assuring us that the economy was in a strong enough state for what was to happen, he told people to expect a hard process of adjustment and uncertainty as this will be inevitable. He has, however, been sure to say that relationships with the EU will not change overnight.

UK Backed By European Court on Decision to Curb Benefits

It was recently decided by the UK government that it would withhold benefits for those unemployed migrants that did not have the right to work in the UK- a decision that was unsurprisingly met with controversy, with a direct challenge being presented against it. However, the decision of the European court has ruled in favour of Britain’s decision, saying it has every right to suspend the benefits and that the decision will be going ahead, meaning the challenge against it has been rejected. The European Court of Justice defended the British Government’s decision saying it was justified in order to protect the country’s finances and overall it was a welcome ruling from both the Government and Remain campaigners.

Whilst Vote Leave are attempting to curb immigration, they were expressing how they felt it ridiculous that such a decision by the Government must be approved in a court in Luxembourg instead of making the decision independently, something that would not be required if we left the EU. The claimed the legal battles were not only unnecessarily long but also costly to our country.

Economically Inactive

The rights of migrants who are not legally residing in the UK, nor earning was first brought up in 2004, and the court ruling looked at cases that dated as far back 2004 when it was first disputed whether or not the rights of migrants that were ‘economically inactive’ and from the EU included receiving benefits from the British government. The habitual residence tests determines whether these EU citizens were eligible for the financial support. The benefit curb had been argued against by the European Commission as it said that the tests to see if EU migrants could claim child benefit and child tax credit would not be used for British workers. Whilst the court did admit that the new rule might cause some unfair treatment, it still ruled it as a necessary, legitimate objective in ensuring that the state’s finances are protected.  The case was potentially an explosive one with the EU referendum being so close, but had a somewhat satisfying result.

It seems both Vote Remain and Vote Leave have one very little thing in common, and that is that they both gained some satisfaction out of the result in Luxembourg, with Vote Remain and David Cameron gaining approval on his benefit curbs and Vote Leave proving that we have little independence inside the EU, as a major decision about this country, was not even made in this country, which will benefit their case massively. In the hearing is was highlighted that the government wanted to make it clear that benefits were reserved for those migrants and other people in need, who had/have the right to reside in Britain. Leave campaigner, and former work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith expressed his anti-Europe views by saying that the European Commission should never have been allowed to challenge the decision in the first place, claiming that it was just a cost to taxpayers.

As a result of the ruling, child benefit will now be paid at a rate which takes into consideration the cost of living in the country of a child who’s parents have migrated to the UK. This will be put into action immediately for any new arrivals and not until 2020 for the 34, 000 already claiming.

‘Carry on Registering to Vote’, says Cameron

We reported earlier in the week about how many 18-24 year old’s may fail to register to vote in the EU referendum due to the process requiring a National Insurance number, which many considered too difficult to obtain. Well it seems many young people managed to muster up the effort and typically many people were registering in their thousands right at the last minute, just before the midnight deadline on the 7th June. As a result of the increased activity, the registration website crashed, meaning that many people with the intentions to register, missed out. As a result of the technical difficulty, Prime minister David Cameron has called for the deadline to be extended.

According to David Cameron, the Government have been in urgent talks to try and have the registration deadline moved, they want to ensure that the fault of the website did not prevent tens of thousands of people from registering to vote, and thus not being able to have their say on referendum day, 23rd June. The website collapsed for the final two hours of the deadline, quite a long amount of time and so affected many. The elections Watchdog called for the Government to intervene after it was clear that some people were going to miss out on registering. This morning, a statement was made by David Cameron in the House of Commons that said people should still register today. His statement comes after the Electoral Commission urged the Government to consider the factors that would effectively extend the deadline. From 10.40pm on Tuesday night the Cabinet Office website would not allow users to register their details as it appeared too many people were attempting to register at the same time. Opposition leaders, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had called for action when the website ceased to work. The technical hitch could be a serious once as it means potentially tens of thousands of voters failed to register.

Blind Panic

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has expressed his surprise at the lack of back up plan in such an instance. He notes that given the history of IT errors with the Government he would have thought something would be in place to prevent the chaos and blind panic that ensued by 11pm last night. With deciding whether to remain or leave the EU a major decision, it is important that as much of the UK vote as possible. Farron calls for the Government to enable the decision to extend the deadline for a further 24 hours. With the belief that it was many younger people who have failed to register, Remain campaigners such as Farron express particular concern for the website’s failure because it is thought that many younger voters are pro-Europe, meaning that the website’s collapse could potentially lose Remain a fair few votes. However, it seems that the deadline extension is a fair all round view as UKIP leader Nigel Farage also called for it to be moved. If you were affected yesterday and unable to register, register today as it is likely that the deadline will be altered.


Is this the Reason Young People aren’t Voting?

Ahead of the referendum at the end of this month, it is important that as many people as possible register to vote. Failure to register means that they will be unable to have their say on whether or not our country remains in the EU. For obvious reasons, authorities have tried to keep the registration process as simple as possible so not to cause any discouragement to those that are registering. However, it seems that the process is still a little too much trouble, meaning some people are giving up before they have even registered.

The problem lies amongst the younger end of the voting public, the 18-24 year old’s, and is effecting thousands. The process asks for essential information from the registrar, including a National Insurance number, something that Bite the Ballot, a group that encourages young people to engage in politics, says is stopping people from registering. They claim that with the majority of registration being done on mobile phones, when a National Insurance number is requested on the sign up form people give up because they either do not have their card to hand or have lost it and simply don’t know it. The request turns a quick and simple sign up into a nightmare of digging deep in search of details you probably lost years ago, and as a result the number of people registering is quickly wavering, and not as high as we would like it to be. Bite the Ballot have said that the situation is inconveniencing so many, that they received a promising 3,800 clicks to their website to register, but only 10 actually completed the entire process. Authorities have always stressed the importance of young people registering and voting as they are the ones that are going to live through whatever effects the result has on the country. Leaving or staying in the EU is a major decision for great Britain and it would be a shame for young people to miss out because they have failed to register.

With all of the relevant details to hand, registering yourself on your smartphone to vote in the referendum takes just 4 minutes. It is important to note that your National insurance number appears more regularly than you might think, and can even be found on your pay slip, so you do not need to read it off your card that may have become buried under your bed with a few old socks from 2014. Bite the ballot is determined to have 500,000 young voters (18-24) registered by June 7th, which is the deadline to register,and has targeted their young audience with collaborations with Uber and regularly used dating app Tinder. Despite National Insurance blunders (this issue cannot be changed as these details are needed to identify each person) Bite the ballot has seen significantly more support from the Government in their voting campaign this year, in comparison to last year’s campaign ahead of the general election, and as a result have seen around 80, 000 young persons registering. As the deadline for midnight on the 7th June looms, will people manage to complete the form?