NUS 'losing £3 million a year' and admits it is no longer 'financially viable'

The National Union of Students is losing over £3 million a year and is close to bankruptcy, according to an extraordinary leaked letter sent to Student Unions.

NUS President Shakira Martin co-wrote the letter
Affiliated Unions received the letter yesterday, telling them that the NUS is facing "financial difficulty".  This amounts to "a £3 million deficit in this and future years" with reserves too small to cover even one year of running at this loss.

The organisation is set to make large cuts to staff and activities to avoid bankruptcy. They also plan to take out loans against their building to bridge the gap between income and spending.

While the NUS aims to become "financially viable" within six months, the letter promises extreme reforms to "drastically simplify and modernise the NUS".

An NUS spokesperson told Student Voices: "We can confirm that NUS is taking measures to address a number of governance-related challenges. The boards, officers and executive team are agreed that we need to deliver fundamental corporate, democratic, and financial reform by Summer 2019. This means there will be a range of proposals brought to a Strategic Conversation meeting in November 2018 for consideration and refinement with the help of our members, and subsequently to National Conference 2019 to be voted on by our members."

The NUS has faced a string of controversies over the past two years, with multiple Student Unions voting to disaffiliate under previous President Malia Bouattia. Earlier this year, current President Shakira Martin was put under investigation following bullying allegations.

Where has all the money gone?

The leaked letter refers to three income streams, all of which are apparently "struggling". Firstly, the letter says the NUS is facing competitors in student discounts. For this year they invested in Totum, replacing the former NUS Extra card with a Totum card. However it is possible fewer students are buying the discount card, with the likes of UniDays and other free-to-use services rising in popularity. If this is the case, the NUS could lose a large segment of its income.

Additionally, Student Union disaffiliation will cost the NUS. Student Unions pay up to £40,000 a year to the NUS each. While only a handful of Unions have voted to leave the organisation, this could still cost them hundreds of thousand of pounds a year.

The letter also blames structural and strategic problems for its situation. Inefficiency and over spending has likely contributed to the situation, although the full picture of this isn't yet clear. The NUS has said they will be making cuts to staff and activities in order to "free up some cash".

Read the full leaked letter below:

NUS 'losing £3 million a year' and admits it is no longer 'financially viable' NUS 'losing £3 million a year' and admits it is no longer 'financially viable' Reviewed by Student Voices on 23:23 Rating: 5

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