Students spending boosts region’s economy

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SPENDING power totalling more than £900m from the region’s tens of thousands students has been heralded as vital to propping up the beleaguered economy.

Research published yesterday by banking giant Santander UK revealed that the total annual spending of the 207,820 student population in 11 universities spread across Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, York, Huddersfield and Bradford amounts to £916m. Student spending across the UK totalled £13.1bn.

The weekly spend of Yorkshire’s students on items such as groceries, clothes, transport and rent is the third lowest in the UK at a rate of £147 compared to a national average of £175. However, the large number of students in the region results in the fifth highest total spend.

London is unsurprisingly the highest with a weekly rate of £212, but Scotland’s students spend £201 each week while in Northern Ireland the student population is responsible for £191-a-week. Only the East Midlands and the West Midlands come in lower than Yorkshire with a weekly spend of £144 and £146 respectively.

But senior executives at Santander UK maintained that student spending is playing a crucial role in the local economies where they are living throughout Yorkshire.

The director of Santander Universities UK, Luis Juste, said: “With more than 200,000 students based across Yorkshire and Humber, the importance of their financial contribution to the economy cannot be underestimated – especially given the current economic climate.

“Indeed, despite being one of the most affordable places to study in terms of weekly outgoings, the large number of students attracted to the region ensures that local businesses benefit from a financial contribution of more than £916m each academic year.”

Rent represents the biggest portion of students’ outgoings in Yorkshire, accounting for almost half – 44 per cent – of their weekly spending. Groceries take up 19 per cent of the weekly budget while going out accounts for 11 per cent and transport costs eight per cent.

A total of 36 per cent of students claimed cost had gone up since the previous academic year with rises in groceries, transport and rent the most commonly cited reasons for this increase.