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Covid-19: City MP lobbies accommodation providers to release students from contracts amid pandemic

Stephen Morgan MP has today welcomed news that the University of Portsmouth will release third term accommodation contracts due to the Covid-19 outbreak and urged others to follow suit.

The city MP consulted with the University of Portsmouth, the Students Union and individual constituents on the issue before writing directly to 6 providers in the city.

Increasingly the university’s tutorials and lessons will be completed online due to Covid-19. Accommodation provided by the university itself has therefore offered a release from third term contracts, but some private accommodation providers have so far failed to match this.

Mr Morgan said:

“With face to face lectures cancelled and new measures to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, you can understand why students would want to be with their families and at home wherever possible.

The close proximity of students to each other while in accommodation also presents a health risk to those enrolled at the university and the general public in Portsmouth.

With large numbers leaving the city, the university and some accommodation providers have shown leadership in removing additional financial strain from the students. Now it is time for other providers to follow suit.

That is why I have written out to 6 providers in the city urging them to act in the interest of the community during these trying times and offer a release to students.”

The university has acknowledged that a great deal of financial hardship may stem from the Covid-19 pandemic and has released all students from their accommodation contracts for the final university term.

However, the choice to remain has been offered to students due to the number of people who live overseas and cannot return home due to travel restrictions. This is the stance that Mr Morgan has urged all other accommodation providers to adopt.

Mr Morgan added:

“If we are all in this together then student accommodation providers have a responsibility to put public health, student safety and financial stability first.

I will continue to lobby all major student accommodation providers, that have failed to offer this release so far, to take steps to support students and act in the interest of our community.”

Stephen Morgan MP continues to work closely with the University and Students’ Union on this issue. He is also advocating on behalf of a number of individual students who have contacted him regarding non university provided accommodation providers refusing to follow suit.