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Leicester ranked among top 10 most affordable cities in Britain


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Leicester has been ranked as one of the top 10 most affordable student cities in Britain by banking giant NatWest.

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The home of De Montfort University (DMU) is ranked ninth in the list for offering students the best value for money, ahead of cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds and London.

The rankings have been published by NatWest in its Student Living Index 2021. Along with affordability, the survey looked at other aspects, including mental health support at universities, for which Leicester was ranked fifth nationwide.

NatWest calculated each city’s affordability by working out a student’s average monthly spend on accommodation, activities and essential items and dividing it by their average monthly income.

Leicester was singled out for being one of the cheapest places for a night out, with average spend on drinks and club entry coming to £23.40, while the survey also found that, on average, a student in Leicester was able to put aside savings of around £93 per month.

Leicester was also the second cheapest university city when it came to spending on utility bills, with an average of £15.30 per month.

The chasm in expense between London and the rest of the country showed when it came to how much a student expected to pay for a pint. In Leicester it was just over £4 while in London it was £9.10!

The findings come as NatWest, like many other banks, has warned that, as we come out of lockdown and start to get used to the new normal, average spending is likely to increase.

The high street chain is therefore urging students to look carefully at their banking requirements for the coming term.

Andy Nicholson, Head of NatWest Student Accounts said: “The cost of being a student is increasing, making it more important than ever that students properly manage their finances.”

Across the board students spent the majority of their income, either from loans or jobs, on supermarket shopping. The average student shopping bill is almost two and a half times as much as any other source of spending and makes up a fifth of total monthly expenses.

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Unsurprisingly, figures for the last year in lockdown showed that going out was the only category that saw a significant decrease in spend, with students forking out around £10 less per month.

However, students surveyed said the amount they spent on their most recent night out had increased compared to the previous year, meaning that although students may start to go out less, when they did venture into a pub or café they were more likely to feel like treating themselves.

Students in Leicester were also said to have clocked up around 50 hours per month watching TV, streaming films or playing video games.

The survey also showed that wellbeing and sustainability issues were important to students across the board.

Around 60 per cent of UK students actively look to recycle waste and around half upcycle clothes or buy second hand items.

Students’ main coping mechanisms for stress and mental health issues were focused on hobbies and interests along with support from friends. The survey ranked Leicester fifth when it came to rating mental health support at university.

Value for money is not the only thing Leicester and DMU has been ranked highly for this year. DMU was named as one of Britain’s top 10 universities for the most student and graduate start-ups, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

While the Flexible Working Space report said Leicester was one of the top five places in the UK to be an entrepreneur.

Posted on Thursday 2nd September 2021

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