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Students, lets love them

Like the impending doom of Brexit or peoples polar opinions on immigration, there’s not much that can divide opinions in Brighton & Hove like the good old students. It’s well documented that the overriding opinion within Brighton & Hove is that students have changed the demographic irrevocably, destroying the fragile that once existed between landlord and tenant, that they are the root of all evil with their anti-social behaviour, and that they are the sole reason we need street cleaners. I though am of the opinion that this subject needs a little more investigation.

At present, Brighton has a population of around 300,000 with a student population of around 50,000. This is a huge percentage of our population. They also have a large portion of the cities disposable income as they have the least amount of responsibilities and financial commitments. Along with, at many times of the year, large amounts of free time.

Can you imagine Brighton & Hove without this free-spending populace? In a period of hard business and financial instability (are we headed for another recession?). Can you imagine how many more of our pubs, clubs and restaurants would be shutting down without these guys propping up our economy? Small businesses that wholeheartedly rely on the micro-economies that prop up Hanover, Coldean, Lewes Road and London Road areas. The taxi drivers and bus drivers who ferry them to and from town and the suppliers to these various shops, as well as all the associated trades to keep these places going, suppliers, cleaners, waiting staff, security etc.

With the student houses, let's also take into consideration the maintenance teams and contractors that are employed to keep them in a good condition, and you can see that it really is quite important that we keep the students coming here for as long as possible. In my humble view, Brighton and Hove, without the students would be, with the greatest respect, Hastings, lacking their culture and diversity that students bring to our great city.

They can be high maintenance, opinionated, sometimes a bit precious and forthright (I am pretty sure I was as well at that age, like a lot of us, and probably still am to be fair), but they are also vibrant, interesting, ambitious and exciting young people, people we should be proud have chosen our city over others, people who we hope will go on and achieve great things!

It’s always been popular among the British to look at things negatively, from immigration to the economy and disregard the positives - the genuine colour and positivity they bring. The local council have managed to embrace the money-making potential of the student population by expanding the HMO licence schemes for landlords, whilst simultaneously running down their reputation within the city.

So let's embrace the youthful visitors, show them what we are about, and hope that perhaps they may even want to stay with us for a while after their courses finish!

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