With the referendum into LSUs membership with the NUS well underway, following the NUS debate, Label looked into some of the possible impacts that leaving the NUS would have.
The leave campaign in their attempts to sway students to vote leave have been informing people of the roughly £45,000 a year membership fee it costs LSU to be part of the NUS. Leaving the NUS would obviously result in this sum of money becoming available for other projects, however, we asked whether £45,000 a year is actually a noticeable sum when the union has a turn over of millions of pounds a year.
Max Crawford, VP: Union Affairs, told us that whilst £45,000 is relatively small set against the union’s overall £10m turnover, most of this is either committed to things we do already e.g. the Media Budget. The money can also be invested in order to make a profit or make an event successful e.g. Craig David, the Grad Ball which makes a small profit even after we have paid artists fees and getting stars is important in making the event successful.
We also asked whether there are any projects that LSU has in mind for potentially having an extra £45,000 a year freed up. Label were informed that
“The question is what else could we do with the money that we couldn’t do without it and the real truth is that we have more good ideas and volunteers than money”.
Whilst it sounds like there are many different options that the potential £45,000 could be used for, is this the price worth paying for representation at the NUS? Label asked that if LSU left the NUS how would the students of Loughborough get their voice heard at a national level when lobbying the Government and other groups? Would LSU lose it’s voice at a national level especially when the NUS would continue to lobby these groups whether LSU was part of the NUS or not..?
Max Crawford told us that:
“Arguably we are only one Union and therefore will be less influential. One factor that NUS does help with that would be challenging is knowing when key issues are being discussed behind the scenes and which way the wind is blowing. NUS has contacts and networks that help with this and we could not hope to match those.
However, on the other hand we could also arguably at least put forward our interests directly as we have a cabinet minister as an MP who is very receptive to Union views. Students will need consider how much influence we have over what NUS says and if NUS is effective at representing the views and interest of Loughborough Students”.
The potential £45,000 that would be freed up could be used for many different things at LSU, and whilst it is a small sum in the scheme of the unions’ turnover, the money would no doubt have a positive impact on some students. However, with this membership fee, LSU is represented at a national level by a body that has contacts and networks that LSU could not hope to have. However, it is possible that LSU could be represented without the NUS by lobbying local MPs and Cabinet Ministers. It is therefore important for Loughborough Students to work out whether they feel the money is worth the representation amongst other factors.
Whilst Label provide unbiased coverage overall, comments and opinions may be shared by individual writers and do not express the views of Label, LSU Media or Loughborough Students’ Union. They are for the benefit of encouraging debate, engagement and further comment amongst the student body. Any queries should be sent to LabelEditor@lsu.co.uk, where you can also express your interest to become a volunteer at any time.