Oxford

Oxford universities reject student housing levy

  • 6 August 2012
  • From the section Oxford

Oxford's two universities have objected to city council plans to impose a levy on new student accommodation.

A spokesman for a group of Oxford colleges fighting the plan said it amounted to an "unjustified tax on education and research".

The council wants a £140-per-sq-m fee on new developments.

Councillor Colin Cook said the authority wanted to stop student developments being more viable than residential ones.

He said changes had allowed more institutions to invest in student accommodation in the city and this fee was designed to discourage that kind of speculative investment.

The fixed contribution imposed by the council will be put towards affordable housing.

'Charitable institutions'

Responding to the proposals, Oxford Brookes University said: "Instead of providing contributions towards the provision of affordable housing, some units of student accommodation should be provided at affordable rents so as to reduce social exclusion and broaden the number of students who are able to study at the university."

Wilf Stephenson, Treasurer of Oriel College, said: "Colleges operate as charitable institutions and provide accommodation for students to support their core objectives, not to make money.

"Such an additional tax would take money away from our mission of delivering excellence in education and research."

A government inspector will give her recommendations on the proposals in September.

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