LONDON – Desperate British students, faced with rising costs on the back of government austerity measures, are turning to prostitution, gambling and other dangerous pursuits to fund their studies, support workers and student leaders said on Wednesday.
The English Collective of Prostitutes, a welfare body for sex workers, said it estimated the number of people approaching it for help had doubled in the last year as students struggled to make ends meet.
“(The government) know the cuts and the austerity programmes and the removing of grants, they know when they remove those resources they know it drives women further into poverty,” Sarah Walker from the ECP told Reuters.
“The way that women survive poverty is often through sex work. The government knows that and they don’t seem to care frankly.”
Young people have been the hardest hit by economic slowdown with youth unemployment now accounting for 1.03 million of the 2.64 unemployed, the highest level since 1992.
Last year, the government said it would scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance, a grant to older teenage schoolchildren to help them stay in education, and allow university tuition fees to treble to up to 9,000 pounds a year from 2012.