The cost of living is an increasing concern for many of us following recent announcements on both the energy price cap and rising inflation. We want to make sure we are doing what we can now to prepare for this and support staff and students wherever we can.
Staff from HR, Commercial Services and Finance are meeting regularly to identify what we can put in place ahead of the winter months. Trade Union and Staff Representatives are also gathering suggestions ahead of the 21 September JSNCC where we aim to come up with an initial list of measures to introduce. This includes looking into external schemes that could help staff with managing their finances, circulating discounts available to staff, and seeing what other financial measures might be possible on top of the recent one-off payment from the Staff Resilience Fund.
The potential impact on students is also a huge concern for all of us and we want to do everything we can to minimise the impact on their studies. A cross-University working group led by Kent Union is meeting regularly to quickly identify ways we can support new and returning students. This includes campaigns to raise awareness of the range of financial support available to students at Kent, plus any new initiatives we can put in place to limit the impact of rising costs. Discussions are also taking place with other universities and the local council about city-wide activity.
This is a worrying time for so many here and across the country, both in terms of personal budgets and the wider impact on businesses and institutions. We are also keeping a close eye on the impact on our own bills as a University, both in terms of utilities across our estate and our wider suppliers. All of us will have a part to play in this, from putting forward suggestions for how we can support each other to doing what we can to minimise non-essential spend – we will also provide regular updates on our work on this as the working group continues to meet.