Alasdair Ibbotson writes for Brig: ‘No, nobody wants to scrap Clubs & Socs Ball’

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Credit: Hannah McNicol

Yesterday Brig published an article quoting me on Air3 Radio’s News Show. You can read the full thing here, but the long and short of it is that it claimed I propose to scrap Clubs & Socs Ball in order to save Union funds.

This is categorically wrong.

To put it in context, we were discussing how to fund a tenants’ union – a key policy pledge of mine that will enable Stirling students to defend our rights against dodgy and illegal private landlords. With a detailed plan, this can be achieved quickly and would make a massive difference to the private rented sector that many of our members are dependent on.

Ideally this will be funded through grants from external organisations, or as a second preference with a membership structure with rates for low income members and free membership for people who are willing to volunteer, based on Living Rent’s existing system. Have a look and consider joining.

Failing that, in the unlikely event that we have to make up the difference, I see defending members facing eviction, living in flats covered in damp and barely fit for human habitation and whose landlords charge them through the nose as the number one priority for our Union. I make no apology for that.

If that means reducing the subsidy that the Union provides to Clubs & Socs Ball in the form of staff time (the Union’s largest single expense, which the Union doesn’t count towards the cost of Clubs & Socs Ball at the moment) then I think that’s the right thing to do.

People in desperate need of support should get priority over a £36-per-head party.

Except it won’t mean that, because this is an absolute last resort. My manifesto does not propose that, and I don’t believe it will come to that.

There is no way that, at a time when our Union maintains a remarkably healthy financial position, any candidate should be cutting services to members in the name of general Union funds.

I don’t want to cut Clubs & Socs Ball. When I went in first year, I had a great time. Whether elected or not, I look forward to next year’s, hopefully when we have a strong tenants’ union to toast as well!

Let’s work together to make this happen.

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