The LSVb will be helping students pursue their case in Delft, Rotterdam, Groningen, Leiden and Vijfheerenlanden (a municipality near Utrecht). The Volkskrant newspaper has reported on this here.
In excess of one thousand students have applied to the union for legal assistance. Most municipal authorities are unwilling to give students any energy allowance. Nor will they be receiving any money for this from the government, as it claims that far from all students need the support.
Nonetheless, a student in Nijmegen won a court battle against his municipality last summer after the judge ruled that he was entitled to the 1,300 euro allowance. That is why some municipalities have since amended their policy and issued the allowance to students too.
The government shifted its stance in response to that verdict as well. It has earmarked 35 million euros for students who find themselves in dire straits and apply for ‘individual special assistance’. These students must be at least 21 years old and satisfy certain conditions. Basically, higher professional education and university students are only entitled to the assistance if they do not receive more than 380 euros a week from gainful employment or from their parents.
Monitoring whether the 35 million euros actually ends up going to students will be difficult, as Minister for Poverty Policy, Participation and Pensions Carola Schouten is keen to avoid creating an ‘accountability circus’, as she said in the House of Representatives last week. She insists that this is the remit of municipal authorities rather than central government.
The government is also endeavouring to curb energy costs in other ways. For example, an energy price cap is to be introduced next year. This will apply up to a certain level of energy consumption.
The cap will not work well for residents of large blocks who share an energy connection, though they will be provided with another form of energy support, according to a government announcement. In due course, they will be able to apply to the Tax and Customs Administration for a rebate for each property or residential unit.
The basic student grant is to be reintroduced from September 2023 onwards, including for a proportion of senior students. On top of that grant, students living away from home will receive a sum of 164 euros per month to compensate for high inflation.