Additional cost of living support for our community

Email sent to all staff by Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor, on Friday 11 November.

Dear colleagues,

We know that the cost-of-living crisis is already affecting many in our University community, just as it is in wider society. And with community as one of the key pillars of our strategy, and compassion as one of our core values, supporting our staff and students through challenging times is of the utmost importance.

So, we’ve worked with colleagues and partners across the University to develop a set of measures targeted at those who need help most.

We want to do all we can to help our community cope with rising costs linked to the national cost-of-living crisis. This is why the University has already absorbed £40m costs this financial year. 

The University awarded extra payments worth £650 to almost 4,000 eligible staff in July this year and will now be issuing a further £650 cash payment to those colleagues in their December salary payments, taking the total package for staff to £5m. 

The student Financial Assistance Fund will increase almost five-fold to £1.9m, with £500,000 ring-fenced within this to support postgraduate researchers (PGRs).

Another £320,000 has been allocated to boost existing student support schemes, including support for care leavers and estranged students, the Leeds Masters Scholarships and testing for the Disabled Students’ Allowance.

We will also expand the provision of free period products at three new locations across campus, scrap outstanding and future library fines, and subsidise hot meals for our whole community across campus catering. 

The packages have been designed in collaboration with Leeds University Union (LUU) and are targeted at those who need help most. 

In the longer term, we continue to focus on our Fairer future for all pledges to address concerns about workload and casualisation, improve employment terms and support our lowest paid staff. This includes moving many staff from fixed-term to ongoing employment contracts, reviewing how we employ hourly paid staff, and continuing to pay the voluntary living wage and apply service-related salary increments.

While the University cannot resolve the cost-of-living crisis, supporting the most vulnerable in our community through the current economic turbulence is essential.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and review in the Spring to ensure that our support continues to be appropriate. 

With best wishes,

Professor Simone Buitendijk

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