City Council Crack Down On Landlords

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has successfuly prosecuted a landlord over a licencing dispute – the first time the City Council has prosecuted a landlord like this in 15 years.

A student landlord, 43-year-old Jaspal Dadhria, has been successfuly prosecuted for failing to obtain Houses In Multiple Occupation licences for three properties he rented to 17 people in Shelton.

He will pay the council £750 per property in fines and he must pay £1,650 to obtain the relevant licences before the properties can be re-let.

On top of this, he will be paying the Council’s court costs and for the period the properties were without the relevant license, tenants can claim back their rent runnig up a potential bill of thousands of pounds.

The announcement on Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s website comes days after the executive cabinet agreed to trial selective licensing in Tunstall.

In certain properties, landlords will be forced to obtain a £500 licence from the council and will be under extra pressure to maintain their properties to a legal and safe-to-live-in standard.

The prosecution sends out a clear message that this council will not tolerate landlords who deliberately flout housing laws. Multiple occupation licences are required to protect tenants, to ensure that large properties meet the necessary health and safety standards. In this case, Dadhria repeatedly failed to apply for a licence. He also, on at least two occasions, failed to attend meetings with the council about the case.

It is fortunate that in this instance, council inspections found the properties to be of a reasonable standard. But without the required licence to ensure minimum safeguards are met, it is not possible to know this.

We are committed to driving up the standard of houses in the city, and to tackling privately rented properties, where appropriate. We are determined to do all we can to help raise the living conditions and quality of life of city residents.

Staffs Uni Hope To Avoid £9k Fees

Staffordshire University is the latest university to announce its plans for tuition fee rises from September 2012 onwards but is planning to avoid any £9,000 per year charges.

The government announced large cuts to the Higher Education budget last year, leaving Universities with a large blank in their income projections.

After a controversial vote sparking protests across the country, the government decided to allow universities to charge up to £9,000 per year to students to cover the costs.

Many universities have announced that they will be charging the full £9,000 per year – including neighbour university, Keele.

The plans must be approved by the Office of Fair Access before becoming official.

However, students will still be charged thousands of pounds more than current students who pay £3,290 per year.

The University has published the following proposals for its 2012 fees scheme:

 Full-time classroom-based degrees: £7,490 per year
 Full-time laboratory/studio-based and resource intensive degrees: £7,990 per year
 Nationally-leading degrees: £8,490 per year
 Two-year fast-track degrees: £8,890 per year
 Placement fee of £1,000 for the year spent in industry on a four-year sandwich course.

Nationally-leading degrees are ones for which Staffordshire University is recognised for its excellence. The examples the universities gives are Broadcast Journalism and Film and Technology courses.

Although the charges for the majority of courses may still be £7,490 or higher, the fees may help Staffordshire University appeal to more non-local students as a place to study, and Stoke-on-Trent as a place to live and possibly work during and after study.

According to The Sentinel, 80% of students will pay under £8,000 per year under the proposals.

“One of the strengths of this University is in providing courses which are relevant to a modern and rapidly changing world. Our graduates will leave us as knowledgeable, capable, skilled and highly employable individuals.”

Lib Dem Promise On Tution Fees

Liberal Democrat have re-launched part of their manifesto – good news for students and for everyone who wants a fairer Britain. This week the Party’s federal policy committee agreed a way to deliver one of our most important policies, the scrapping of unfair tuition fees. We’ve developed a plan to phase out tuition fees over the course of the next six years, to ensure this vital policy is affordable even at this time of economic crisis.

Labour and the Conservatives refuse to address the issue of fees and there is a real danger that both of them would lift the cap on fees which could mean even more debt for students when they leave university. We think that is wrong and our policy will prevent it happening. It’s simply wrong to penalise people who want to make the best of themselves by saddling them with enormous mortgage-style debts from the day they graduate – especially when we know the root of the current economic crisis
was too much debt. And it’s clear that people from disadvantaged backgrounds are far more likely to be put off going to university if it costs them tens of thousands of pounds. In a fair society, university admissions should be based on your grades and intelligence, not the wealth of your parents. You should decide whether going to university makes sense for you – and you shouldn’t have to make the decision based on your bank balance. We were right to oppose tuition fees from day one, and have been right to continue to oppose any lifting of the cap on the limit of fees. The government has been obsessed with artificial targets for how many people should go to university, while putting barriers in their way in the shape of fees. My priority is making degrees affordable, and that means scrapping these unfair fees, including for those who study part-time. This is vital, because it tends to be older or poorer students who can’t afford a full-time degree, but under current rules they have to pay up-front, while everyone else is allowed to defer their payments.

Of course, at a time of economic crisis, when the government has got the public finances into a mess, it is extremely important to be responsible about making a big financial commitment like this. Students want to be treated like grown ups; they know money doesn’t grow on trees and that big spending committments like this are only affordable over time. That’s why we have agreed together to lay out a financially responsible timetable to scrap fees, step by step, over the six years after the General Election.

Final year tuition fees will be the first to go. Too many people drop out, often put off by the huge costs. We’ll make it easier to stay on, because no student will pay any fees to complete their degree. In 2011, we’ll get help to part-time students, regulating the fees they pay (a vital step towards abolishing them). In 2012, part-time students will be able to access the same loans as full-time students. In 2013, we’ll extend free tuition to second year students. In 2014, we’ll extend that same free tuition to part time students. And in 2015, as the public finances are recovering, we will be able to afford to abolish all remaining fees.

Labour’s recession has made it more difficult to find the money to fund our priorities. That’s why we are right to adapt our plans for big spending commitments and why it is right that our General Election manifesto will focus this time on a smaller number of key commitments. But our message to students is clear: we remain the only party that believes fees are unfair,and the only party with a plan to get rid of them for good.


By Matt Taylor

An election to pick the new leader of Staffordshire University’s Student Union (SU) has come to a standstill amid allegations of racism.

Allegations: Assed Baig

Allegations: Assed Baig

According to candidate Assed Baig, his attempts to beat fellow contender and current president, Fee Wood, to the post have been hijacked by a “vicious sleaze campaign”.

Proceedings were suspended on Friday of last week while the university and union began an investigation into his complaints.

Assed claims that the racist tactics included calling him a “7/7 bomber” and were attempting to sway students away from voting for him in the race to become Union president, which is a paid position.

He asserts that although he campaigned without mentioning his religious beliefs, he has been subject to “systematic abuse including racist and Islamaphobic lies and comments”, which meant he had to spend more time fighting against the propaganda than on the job in hand.

Assed, who is in the final year of an Ethical World Journalism degree, said:

“I started picking up comments and hearing things from some of the students. And then it clicked when people started asking me whether women would be allowed in the “Ëœshisha lounge’ ““ one of the things I want to introduce.

“Rumours were going around that I wanted to close the Gobble night [a Wednesday night party at the LRV Union bar], ban alcohol, split rooms into sections for men and women”¦I wondered where the hell it was coming from. I couldn’t believe it. Students told me that it was my opposition.”

Assed has made a formal complaint to the university in a hope they can resolve the matter. He added:

“The Uni said they would investigate and then start the count again depending on the results. But I haven’t got much faith. Why would I? There has been racism before and nothing has really been done about it.

“Even if someone is disciplined, there needs to be a bigger campaign to take on the issues, with high-profile speakers.

“The Union and the Uni need to tackle this head-on. I don’t care about the election although from what I have heard I have done well.

“I’ve been through a lot in the last week ““ it’s not nice having to prove that you’re not a terrorist.”

Opposition candidate and current SU President Fee Wood already made national news this year when the union

Current SU president Fee Wood

Current SU president Fee Wood

introduced transgender toilets in the LRV and the local press last November when the Frisbee team was banned from using the name “mental discs” because it was offensive. Fee would not comment on the allegations of racism. She said:

“I cannot say anything at the moment because there is an ongoing investigation and we will not comment until it has been completed”.

Assed Baig has posted an article about his experiences during the events leading up to last Friday on Facebook, which has attracted a significant reaction from students. In it he details the racism he believes he has been subjected to, including:

- Â Ã‚  That he would close the bar because of his religious beliefs.

- Â Ã‚  That he would close sports societies

- Â Ã‚  That he would segregate the union along gender lines, due to his religious beliefs.

- Â Ã‚  Comments made on Facebook calling him a “7/7 bomber” and “Osama Bin Baig”.

Assed denies there is truth in any of the rumours and believes that the attacks he alleges were made on him and his religious beliefs are a very serious matter which, as well as having created hysteria in order to smear his campaign, also put the feelings of the entire ethnic minority community at Staffordshire University in jeopardy.

You can view Assed Baig’s full post on Facebook by clicking here.

There is now a group on Facebook for this story Staffs Elections Racism Campaign Failure Group as well.



CONTROVERSIAL student night Carnage has returned to the bars and streets of Stoke-on-Trent.

But the pub crawl event again drew criticisms from local residents who were turned away from bars reserved for the Carnage event.

Kellie Hill reports:


Great report from Kellie.

What do you think, should this night take place in our city centre? Are the university right to oppose it? Did you ever do anything like this when you were a student? (if you can remember back that far!) Is it the same thing as blowing your 1st weeks wages?

Over to you………