Blame crippling lack of opportunities

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The letter written by Dave Mitchell entitled ‘Students aren’t poor’ (Saturday, July 11), emboldened me to respond to his apparently divisive intentions.

Exactly what is it students have gotten away, with ‘divisive’ Dave? I found your letter to be frustratingly ignorant, firstly because you set students against people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, when in reality they aren’t opposing factions but more than likely one and the same group of people.

Having graduated with a first class honours degree, I had no choice but to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and ended up working in a retail job for a year simply because my chosen profession seemed to be offering only exploitative unpaid ‘work experience’. With bills and rent to pay was untenable. Through no fault of my own I was left in limbo, with limited career prospects and pay well below the then £15,000 p/a loan repayment threshold.

Secondly, who are you, Dave, to suggest that someone who has a loan is not then also entitled to go to the pub to celebrate a recent deadline, or simply to socialise with friends and enjoy being young and care free?

Most students that I know work part-time, because student loans cannot cover all living expenses.

Next you will be suggesting that anyone with a mortgage shouldn’t be seen outside their house, or smiling, or having fun.

Just because the burden of a portion of student loans falls on the shoulders of the state, why should the young people of our nation stop aspiring to better themselves, just as claimants are aspiring through their seeking? Why should they also stop socialising? When you wrote your letter had you mistaken Sheffield for North Korea?

The £21,000 repayment threshold is to ensure that the £9,000 fees do not discourage too many people from low-income families from aspiring to go to university in order to better their career prospects.

If repayment thresholds were lowered to £12,000, how many young people from working class backgrounds would be put off going to university? How many have already been put off by the £9,000 fees? Far too many I would say.

So who is really to blame, Dave? Students and their loans? NO! Jobseekers? NO! Ignorance, divisive thinking and a crippling lack of opportunities for our nation’s young people, YES.

Alex Dewick