Students head for court over energy benefits as their bills soar


Students in five university cities are going to court in an effort to force local authorities to give them extra financial help in meeting soaring energy costs, the Volkskrant reported on Friday.

The cabinet says it is impossible to give all students the €1,300 payout for low income households because of the complicated nature of their housing set ups. But may student housing providers are putting up service costs considerably next year to cover soaring energy bills.

Students living in accommodation managed by Duwo, for example, face an average increase of €51 in service costs a month, while SSH is raising its prices by €30. In Amsterdam, students living in a converted university building in Nieuw-West face an increase in housing costs of €160 per month.

Joram van Velzen, chairman of student union LSVb, told the Volkskrant that students already spend more than half their income on rent.

The cabinet has set aside €35 million to help students who find themselves in serious financial difficulty and the money is to be distributed by local authorities. But many local councils argue that they have not had time to sort out who should get the extra benefits, prompting students to head for court.

So far 1,000 students have said they will take part in legal action to force councils to pay up.

Groningen, Leiden, Delft, Rotterdam and Vijfheerenlanden, south of Utrecht, are the first up to to face legal action, the LSVb said.

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