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Crunch time for Government looming over students

17 November 2000

Crunch time for Government looming over student unemployment

Green MP Sue Bradford today said that with universities rising for summer the Government must be prepared to face the consequences of denying unemployed students access to an emergency benefit.

Most universities are breaking for summer over the next week and Ms Bradford said she had already received worrying reports about students struggling to find summer employment.

"Earlier this year this Labour and Alliance Government which campaigned on reintroducing an emergency benefit for students who could not find work over the summer break voted down my bill which would have reinstated this benefit," said Ms Bradford.

"This move was hugely unpopular among students at the time but, when students who cannot find work are again forced out of their flats and into the foodbanks as has happened in other years, the backlash will be much more serious."

Ms Bradford said the Government had to take full responsibility for the complete lack of support for unemployed students this summer.

"It is all very well for Mr Maharey to give $1.9 million to student job search for a computer system, as this may help some students find jobs," said Ms Bradford. "However helping students try to find jobs is one thing. Refusing to help students who cannot find jobs is something else altogether."

Ms Bradford said students were feeling rightly betrayed by the Government over this issue and she promised that the Green Party would continue to represent the interests of students and fight hard for the reintroduction of the emergency unemployment benefit for students who needed it.

Sue Bradford MP: 04 470 6720, 025 243 4239 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090

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