Manchester

Manchester students in competition with working families, report says

Manchester skyline Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More students are choosing to live in the city centre

Building affordable student accommodation in the city centre could free up homes for working families in south Manchester, a report has said.

More students are taking advantage of areas of cheap housing putting them in "intense competition" with working households, it claimed.

As a result, up to £17m has been lost in council tax this year, it added.

Plans to encourage students to move into "appropriate" city centre housing will be considered next week.

The report going before councillors shows that more students are competing for cheap accommodation in areas like Hulme,

Landlords often favour students, it said, adding that international students often pay up front and don't ask for their deposits back.

But this competition is creating problems for the town hall, which loses out on council tax income from students, who are exempt.

Figures show £17m will be lost in revenue this financial year 2019/20.

Image caption Student exemptions have almost halved at the Beetham Tower

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The evidence suggests that we need to begin a conversation about carefully managing new, high quality purpose built student accommodation in appropriate locations and replace old stock to help meet demand."

'Unpopular'

Manchester's student population is the largest concentration outside of London and a growing number are from overseas.

But, according to the report, it is also one of the most expensive cities for purpose-built accommodation.

If no affordable student accommodation is built in areas closer to the universities, students in cheaper parts of south Manchester will stay there, it said.

The city's universities indicated that some university-owned housing further away from the city centre was becoming "increasingly unpopular" with students.

The report said these "could be re-purposed into family housing".

It recommended that town hall officers consult with the universities before further consultation on whether to make changes to its planning policy.

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