Businesses in student areas are losing over £30m a year in revenue. This comes after a slump in student numbers, a report has warned.
There are 2,500 fewer students in the city as a whole, amounting to at least a £31.5m economic loss this coming year alone, according to a study commissioned by Unipol Student Homes and the Re’new charity.
A number of businesses in Headingley and Hyde Park have said they are suffering as a result: Ashleigh, assistant manager of The Skyrack, told Leeds Student how concerned they are: “We have seen a noticeable decrease in sales this past six months. Freshers’ week was meant to be a boom but it didn’t live up to expectations – and Halloween hasn’t been much better.”
A manager of another pub stated: “I’ve been here for 16 years and have seen the area change dramatically.The student population has affected business; businesses keep on opening and then closing again within four months.”
It has been suggested that the increase in tuition fees is one of the main reasons behind this.
Councillor Janette Walker, who represents Labour in Headingley spoke to this paper about her concerns. “Student numbers have been on an upward trajectory over five decades so one must draw the conclusion the current significant drop in numbers can only be as a result of tuition fees. Of course this will have a massive effect on many shops and businesses in inner north west as well as the broader Leeds economy.”
As reported previously in Leeds Student, the Union has also been forced to cut shifts after a slump in footfall.
Ben Fisher, the Union’s Communities officer, told Leeds Student: “The decrease in the number of students living in Leeds this year highlights the fact that government changes to higher education have had a far wider impact than just on universities. There is real damage being done to local communities, which is why we’re inviting local councillors and residents to support us and join us on the NUS Demo next week”
Words: Richard Jarram