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Edinburgh University Students’ Association warns of £1.4 Million debt

Following the First Minister’s announcement on Wednesday 7th October that all licensed premises in the central belt must shut their doors, the Edinburgh University Students’ Association has warned staff that cuts will have to be made in order to balance out the books over the next five years.

In an email sent to staff on Monday 12th October, the association informed staff of a forecasted £1.4 million deficit for this financial year as a result of the cancellation of the Fringe over the summer and ongoing restrictions on many of their venues.

The 12th of October email to staff initially indicated that EUSA would not be accessing the Furlough Scheme or the Job Support Scheme whilst the current restrictions remained in place.

But Ellen MacRae, Students’ Association President, was able to confirm to The Student today that EUSA would make use of the Furlough Scheme for hourly paid staff that were scheduled to work in the period from the 10th October until the 31st October and will be in touch shortly with those eligible to access it.

It remains to be seen if EUSA will access the new Job Support Scheme beyond the end of October.

Speaking to The Student, MacRae said “There is a new Job Support Scheme, and an extension of that relating to government-imposed closures coming in after the furlough scheme comes to an end, and we are working on how that might work for us, although we are still waiting the finer detail on that.

“Once we have evaluated how we might be able to make use of that scheme, and the financial implications of using it, we will communicate that with our staff.”

In March, the Students Association were able to furlough all of their hourly paid staff. The re-opening of most of their venues from the 13th of September then allowed them to bring back some of their staff on reduced hours.

Owing to the escalating cost of accessing the Furlough Scheme, with employers expected to contribute towards the cost from September, the Students’ Association stopped using the scheme for hourly paid staff from the 13th of September.

The majority of EUSA’s staff are students studying at the university. The First Minister’s announcement that pubs and restaurants in the central belt will remain shut until the 2nd November will further increase pressure on EUSA.

Under current restrictions the Pleasance is shut alongside the Library Bar, Garden Bar and Sports Bar in Teviot Row House. The Dome Bar is currently shut in Potterrow as is the Mayfield Bar and Grill at the King’s Buildings Campus.

MacRae added “We take the welfare of our staff extremely seriously and we will also do what we can to support staff who find themselves in financial hardship.

“We have launched a welfare loan scheme for staff who are ineligible for furlough, and staff who are students…can also speak to our Advice Place for information on…financial support.”

Image: Kim Traynor via Wikipedia