Six Nations: Scotland beat England

Six Nations: Scotland 25-13 England highlights
2018 Six Nations
Scotland (22) 25
Tries: Jones 2, Maitland Cons: Laidlaw 2 Pens: Laidlaw, Russell
England (6) 13
Try: Farrell Con: Farrell Pens: Farrell 2

Scotland scored three tries to earn a thrilling first victory over England since 2008 and open up the Six Nations title race at an exultant Murrayfield.

Centre Huw Jones scored two tries – Scotland’s first against England at home in 14 years – and Sean Maitland grabbed another as the hosts led 22-6.

Owen Farrell landed two penalties, and his converted try on the resumption brought England to within nine points.

But Finn Russell’s penalty after a Sam Underhill shoulder charge sealed it.

Underhill was yellow-carded for his no-arms challenge, giving Scotland a man advantage from the 66th to the 76th minute.

It was only a second defeat for England in 26 Tests under head coach Eddie Jones, and ended their hopes of a second Grand Slam in three years.

They remain in contention for a historic third successive Six Nations title, but now trail leaders Ireland – who they face in the final round – by five points.

After a break next weekend, England will face France in Paris on Saturday, 10 March, while Scotland – after a sixth successive home Six Nations win – will head to Dublin to tackle Ireland earlier the same day.

For so long we have waited for a Calcutta Cup to live up to the grand history of the fixture, to quicken the pulse the way it once did. This was not expected to be a classic, but it was. Scotland were not fancied anywhere outside of their own inner sanctum, but how good were they and how electrified was their citadel of Murrayfield?

In trying to plot the downfall of England’s winning machine, Gregor Townsend had flimsy research material. Twenty five games under Eddie Jones and 24 victories. Their one loss was to Ireland last year, a win borne of Irish belligerence, particularly at the breakdown, where they resembled mad dogs in a meat house for 80 minutes-plus.

Scotland’s work on the floor was astonishingly good all day. It was, in many ways, the key to everything. Their ferocity at the breakdown was fundamental to their day of days. Scotland came up with a magnificent amalgam of defensive brutality, creative brilliance and an unshakeable belief that towered as big and proud as the famous castle on the hill.

Their work at the breakdown brought them a penalty early on when Mako Vunipola was penalised and Greig Laidlaw popped it over. Even when Farrell levelled it, Scotland, hungry for work and playing with an accuracy and a tempo, kicked on.

Six Nations 2018: Eddie Jones admits ‘Scotland were too good for us’

Townsend demands organised chaos – and he got it when Scotland took a quick line-out 15 minutes in. A Scottish rumble shunted England backwards, a Scottish penalty gave them a free play. Russell, a maligned figure coming into this maelstrom, put a sweet grubber in behind and when the bounce was kind, Huw Jones gobbled it up and scored.

It was his third try against England in 95 minutes of rugby following his double last season as well as being his ninth in 14 Tests. Astonishing.

Laidlaw’s conversion made it 10-3 and Farrell’s second penalty made it 10-6. The pace, largely poured on by the Scots, was thunderous and it only cranked up. That Scottish breakdown came to the fore as the half wore on. With England threatening inside Scotland’s 22, John Barclay, a colossus, turned over ball and away the hosts went.

A huge skip pass from the magnificent Russell, a huge break by the clever Jones and then Russell again at the end of the move, his delicate floated pass finding Maitland for the score.

Scotland centre Huw Jones dives over to score the first of his two tries

Murrayfield was a place of utter delirium. And the decibels ratcheted higher and higher. Again England found their way back to Scotland’s 22 and again Barclay came up with a huge play on the floor, winning the ball and denying England their momentum. That lifted the siege and sent the Scots on their way.

Enter Jones once more. He exploded on to the ball on the most gorgeous angle, sweeping past Nathan Hughes. With Mike Brown closing in on him on his right and Anthony Watson coming in from his left, Jones had a mountain of work to do to get to the promised land but he got there. Upper-body strength, leg drive, demonic intensity – and he was over.

Jones had now run for 118 metres – more than the entire England backline put together. Scotland had scored more tries against England at Murrayfield in 38 minutes than they had in the previous 18 years.

When Laidlaw put over the conversion, Scotland led 22-6. That is how the half ended. Scotland galloped up the tunnel, England got into a huddle before making their own exit. They retreated a stunned team. Never in the Jones era had they been so out-played and so lost.

Sean Maitland grabbed Scotland’s second try to put them 15-6 up

England launch fightback

Everybody knew that there was a reaction coming. There had to be – and there was. Farrell took advantage of a narrow Scotland defence and raced in to make it 22-13, with the conversion, four minutes after the restart. It was a score that made Murrayfield gulp hard. A nine-point game now.

Scotland butchered a try when Peter Horne delayed a pass with three men running free outside him. Farrell thought he had scored a second but play was called back for a knock-on from Courtney Lawes.

England could not find a rhythm. Scotland singularly refused to allow them to inflict their power game. Barclay was utterly immense, but his supporting cast was intense and focused and heroic.

Jones went to the bench. Underhill was not on long before he was off again, binned for a no-arms hit on Jamie Bhatti. To add to their pain, England watched Russell – taking over the kicking duties from Laidlaw – boom over the resulting penalty to make it 25-13. Murrayfield erupted anew.

England tried to rescue themselves, but they were denied at every turn. Barclay won yet another turnover, then the Scottish scrum won a relieving penalty, then Stuart McInally won another breakdown under his own posts after England went through multiple phases. As soon as England came up for air they looked a team riven with self-doubt. They knew it was done.

Scotland were positively walking on air. After a decade-long wait, their celebration was hard-earned and riotous. You sense that the blissful feeling that washed over Murrayfield in those moments will last for an awfully long time.

Six Nations 2018: Players clash in the tunnel before Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield

Scotland: Hogg, Seymour, Jones, Horne, Maitland, Russell, Laidlaw; Reid, McInally, Berghan, Gilchrist, J Gray, Barclay (capt), Watson, Wilson.

Replacements: Lawson, J Bhatti (for Reid, 56), WP Nel (for Berghan, 69), Swinson (for Gilchrist, 56), Denton (for Wilson, 69), Price (for Laidlaw, 62), Grigg (for Horne, 72), Kinghorn (for Seymour, 65).

England: Brown, Watson, Joseph, Farrell, May, Ford, Care; M Vunipola, Hartley (capt), Cole, Launchbury, Itoje, Lawes, Robshaw, Hughes.

Replacements: George (for Hartley, 56), Marler (for Vunipola, 69), Williams (for Cole, 65), G Kruis (for Launchbury, 71), Underhill (for Hughes, 56), Wigglesworth (for Care, 71), B Te’o (for Ford, 65), Nowell (for Brown, 56).

Yellow card: Underhill, 66

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Touch judges: Jerome Garces (France) & Andrew Brace (Ireland)

TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)



Johnny Hallyday estate: Bardot wades into France family row

Brigitte Bardot Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bardot is known for her forthright views on animal rights and other issues

Brigitte Bardot has become the latest French celebrity to weigh in on a family dispute over the estate of the late singer Johnny Hallyday.

In a radio interview, the movie legend urged Hallyday’s widow Laeticia – named as his main heir – to give some of the money back to his older children.

Singer David Hallyday and actress Laura Smet, who were left with nothing, are contesting their father’s will.

Johnny Hallyday died in December from lung cancer at the age of 74.

Bardot told French radio station Europe 1 on Saturday: “I am disgusted. If I were Laeticia, I would put things right. I would give David and Laura what they deserve.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Laura Smet (left) is contesting the award to Hallyday’s fourth wife, Laeticia (right)

Under the country’s inheritance laws, which go back to the French Revolution, all children should be given roughly equal shares of an estate.

  • Johnny Hallyday: Story of a French rock phenomenon
  • Huge crowds mourn Hallyday

But Hallyday, who had a home in California and was domiciled there for tax purposes, left everything in his will to Laeticia, his fourth wife, and their two adopted daughters.

Laura Smet, 34, and David Hallyday, 51, announced their legal challenge last week.

Since then a number of big names in the world of French entertainment have spoken out on the matter.

Eddy Mitchell, another French rock legend and friend of the late singer, said: “I don’t understand how someone can disinherit his children.”

Image copyright AFp/getty
Image caption Laura Smet and her half-brother David Hallyday got nothing from the will

Actor Jean Reno, a friend of both Johnny and Laeticia, urged the family not to yield to “hatred”.

Singer Sylvie Vartan, Hallyday’s first wife and David’s mother, said that during their divorce in 1980 she had urged Johnny to give her share of their home to their son.



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Winter Olympics: Billy Big Time, squirrel slalom & Ledecka’s double – day 15 Playlist

Watch the best of the action from day 15 of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang including a record-breaking medal for Team GB’s Billy Morgan and a squirrel’s star-turn.

WATCH MORE: ‘Perfect shot’ helps USA win curling gold

Watch the 2018 Winter Olympics live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Available to UK users only.



The ‘water war’ brewing over the new River Nile dam

View from sailing boat on Nile Image copyright Getty Images

A new dam on the Nile could trigger a war over water unless Ethiopia can agree a deal with Egypt and Sudan, writes the BBC’s Africa Correspondent Alastair Leithead.

It is often said the world’s next world war will be fought over water and there are few places as tense as the River Nile.

Egypt and Ethiopia have a big disagreement, Sudan is in the middle, and a big geopolitical shift is being played out along the world’s longest river.

There’s been talk about a dam on the Blue Nile for many years, but when Ethiopia started to build, the Arab Spring was underway and Egypt was distracted.

“Egypt was the gift of the Nile” the pharaohs said, and they worshiped the river as a god.

Explore the Nile with 360 video

a 360-degree version of the Damming the Nile VR series from BBC News

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Join the BBC’s Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead and his team, travelling from the Blue Nile’s source to the sea – through Ethiopia and Sudan into Egypt.

This 360° video is a version of the first VR documentary series from BBC News. To view the full films, click here.

For thousands of years, and more recently buoyed by British colonialism, Egypt has wielded political influence over the Nile.

But the ambition of Ethiopia is changing all that.

There are few African countries with a plan to deal with the doubling of the continent’s population over the next 30 years.

Yet despite its political challenges and its limited freedoms, industrial parks are being built as Ethiopia seeks to transform itself into a middle-income country, and so it needs electricity.

Image caption The dramatic Blue Nile falls are located 48km (30 miles) south of Lake Tana in Ethiopia’s highlands

Africa’s largest hydroelectric power station and one of the world’s largest dams will do that, but with 85% of the river emerging from the Ethiopian highlands, Egypt is concerned its rival has the capability to control the flow of the river.

“It’s one of the most important flagship projects for Ethiopia,” says Seleshi Bekele, the country’s Minister for Water, Irrigation and Electricity.

“It’s not about control of the flow, but providing opportunity for us to develop ourselves through energy development. It has a lot of benefit for the downstream countries.”

And Sudan certainly welcomes it.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is just a few kilometres from the border and the pylons are already in place, waiting for the power generation to begin and for cheap, renewable power to fizz through the cables.

Image caption The new dam will mean the river flows year-round

Dams also regulate the flow of the river.

At the moment the difference between high water and low water level in Sudan is 8m, and that makes its vast irrigation projects harder to manage.

With the dam in place, the difference will be 2m and the flow of the river will come year-round.

“For Sudan it’s wonderful,” says says Osama Daoud Abdellatif, the owner of the Dal Group which runs farms and irrigation projects.

“It’s the best thing that’s happened for a long time and I think the combination of energy and regular water levels is a great blessing.”

He understands that Egypt is worried, as the UN predicts the country will start suffering water shortages by 2025.

“The Nile is the lifeline of Egypt, so for them, I wouldn’t say they are paranoid, but they are very concerned about anything that you do with that water.”

Any threat to Egypt’s water is considered a threat to its sovereignty.

“It’s very much a game changer, a new order is beginning in the whole region now,” believes Rawia Tawfik, an Egyptian academic working in Germany.

“Ethiopia for the first time is combining both the physical power of being an upstream country that can in one way or another control the River Nile’s flow, and the economic power of being able to construct a dam depending on its own domestic resources.”

And Egypt’s minister of water resources and irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Aty, is extremely angry.

“We are responsible for a nation of about 100 million”, he says. “If the water that’s coming to Egypt reduced by 2% we would lose about 200,000 acres of land.

“One acre at least makes one family survive. A family in Egypt is average family size about five persons. So this means about one million will be jobless.

“It is an international security issue.”

Hydroelectric power stations do not consume water, but the speed with which Ethiopia fills up the dam will affect the flow downstream.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Nile flows through the Egyptian city of Aswan around 920 km (571 miles) south of the capital Cairo

They would like the water to be generating power as soon as possible, but it should take time to fill up a reservoir which is going to be bigger than Greater London and will flood the Nile for 250km (155 miles) upstream.

If it is filled within three years the level of the river will be affected, but over six or seven years it won’t have a major impact on water level.

Negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia are not going well.

The discussions aren’t even at the stage of assessing the impact, but are still about how that will be determined.

Sudan and Egypt are also at loggerheads over how much water Sudan uses – and how that amount may increase when the dam is finished.

The irony is Egypt did in the 1960s exactly what Ethiopia is doing today, when it built the Aswan High Dam.

For a revolutionary post-colonial country it was a proud national achievement, and Ethiopia sees it in the same way.

Ethiopia wants to pay for this project itself without international help.

Government workers are giving a month’s salary a year to the project – and not all are happy about that.

There is a lottery to fund the dam and bonds are being put up for sale.

Image caption A fisherman in Ethiopia carries his catch from the river

The dam is impressive. After five years it is two-thirds finished – and it already crosses the river.

There is nothing Egypt can do about it, except take military action which would be extreme.

That is why diplomacy and collaboration are the only means of resolving this issue.

But when issues like nationalism and the relative strength and importance of countries is concerned, it muddies the water.

The world’s first war over water can be avoided on the Nile, and it could even be an example of how to resolve complex disagreements over water.

But it will take a lot more effort to navigate an agreement between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.



‘Why we run a boarding house for puppies’

From left: Richard Dix, their dog Urwin, Darcy O'Gara and Steven Luong
Image caption From left: Richard Dix, their dog Urwin, Darcy O’Gara and Steven Luong

Housemates Darcy O’Gara, Steven Luong and Richard Dix are all volunteer dog boarders. They have full-time jobs at the same firm, but also look after string of part-time puppies.

Puppy boarding is one way charities are dealing with spiralling waiting lists for guide dogs and assistance dogs – which cost £55,000 to train and care for during their lifetime.

“We’ve had seven puppies and dogs, but Urwin is probably the cheekiest,” says Darcy, 27.

“You have to be careful if you have food lying around, but he’s quite adorable.”

For the past two years, the colleagues-turned-housemates have run a “puppy B&B” from their home in Banbury, Oxfordshire, which involves hosting a puppy for evening and weekend stays.

The puppies go on to be trained as guide dogs, or to assist a person with a physical disability, or condition such as autism or dementia.

Image caption Steven playing with their first puppy house-mate, Neptune

“I’m at work all day so I couldn’t realistically have a pet dog,” says Darcy, who along with Steven, 27 and Richard, 28, work in aerospace technology.

“Between us, boarding a puppy is perfect – there’s always someone to cover for you,” he says.

How it works

Before getting to the office, Darcy drops off Urwin, one, at a local training centre, then picks him up again during his drive home from work.

“It’s literally on my commute,” he says. “I’ll just get up half an hour earlier than usual to toilet and feed him, and in the evenings we socialise and play.”

At weekends, he’ll take their guest to the shops, on public transport, and even to a nearby outdoor cinema.

All food, toys and pet insurance is covered by the charity.

Image caption Darcy with another of their dogs, Zac, who they hosted last summer

They board a dog for any period of time, from a single weekend to several months.

Their current guest, golden Labrador Urwin, was injured during his training as an assistance dog, so has been with them for five months.

Darcy adds: “You don’t need to be at home all the time, or need a load of space, and usually there’s a boarder nearby if you want to go on holiday.”

The charity will do home assessment for suitability but in general terms, all that is needed is a secure garden for the dog to spend in – since a disabled owner wouldn’t be able to use a dog poo bag when out and about.

What the puppies do

Darcy, Steven and Richard’s puppies have gone on to become guide dogs for the blind, or helped a person with a physical disability, or conditions like autism or dementia.

They are among 40 boarders who volunteer for local charity Dogs for Good. They don’t need to do any training themselves, but must treat the puppies differently from an ordinary pet.

“We don’t let the dogs on the sofa, just in case their new owner doesn’t like that,” Darcy says.

“They also encourage us to socialise the dogs with as many different people as possible”.

Image caption One of their boarders, Lily, was recently sent to assist a person in Blackpool

He says it’s “obviously a little bit sad” when their dogs go to their new owners, but they get regular updates from former boarders.

“It’s lovely to hear that Lily’s gone to Blackpool, for example, or that Vixen has gone to a woman with MS and made an amazing difference to her life”.

How do boarders help?

There are about 7,000 assistance dogs in the UK that are registered with charities, but many more are trained by their owners.

Organisations which train assistance dogs are warning they are struggling to meet demand from those in need – partly because training a puppy is such intensive work.

One charity, Canine Partners, says it was recently forced to suspend applications for support due to a shortage of dogs.

David Bailey, the charity’s operations director, said the move was “disappointing” but cited an “exceptionally high number of enquiries and a long waiting list”.

Where do the puppies come from?

Sharon Gawler, from Dorset, is another puppy host. She’s got the unusual job title of “brood bitch holder”.

Her pet dog Faith, four, has just had a litter of eight puppies – all of them set to be trained to assist people with physical disabilities.

“I’ve put my heart and soul into the puppies for eight weeks,” she says.

Image caption It’s hoped Faith, pictured pregnant with her eight puppies, will go on to have two more litters

Her 2018 has so far been spent feeding puppies four times a day, making sure they are happy and healthy, as well as handling, grooming and socialising the newborns.

“We do an awful lot of giggling and playing,” she says.

“We expose them to lots of noises, sounds, colours, so we’ve got a rounded puppy without any unnecessary fear,” she says.

“So they’ve met old people, young people, noisy people, quiet people – as many as they can, obviously following strict health and hygiene rules.”

Faith, a Golden Retriever and Labrador-cross, was also due to be an assistance dog – but the charity that owned her, Canine Partners, set her aside to produce litters instead.

Image caption Faith’s brood: Hauxley, Hamble, Havana, Melford, Chatsworth, Holly, Rory and Merlot

“Most of the year Faith is an ordinary family pet, albeit one who’s highly trained,” adds Sharon.

She says having a job shouldn’t put someone off caring after a brood.

“You just need a happy, healthy home and access to a toilet area. You don’t need a huge space, you just need somewhere that you can have puppies running around in and having fun.”



The news that made us smile this week

Everyone needs a distraction now and then – so here are some of the things that put a little smile on our faces this week.

We hope they do the same to you.

1) This enthusiastic Olympic song

The gold medal here goes to the Norwegian Winter Olympic team and their loose interpretation of South Korean pop hit Gangnam Style, entitled Pyeongchangnam Style.

It was created for Norway’s public broadcaster, features a chicken wig and is pretty difficult not to like.

2) This very British response to an earthquake

Congratulations to Louise Craig, from Connah’s Quay in north Wales, who had this to say after a 4.4-magnitude earthquake shook parts of the UK.

“I get a lot of fat wood pigeons jumping up and down on my chimney and I first of all thought the noise was them but they must have put on a heck a lot of weight to make the house shake.”

You can read more about the UK quake and the fat pigeons here

3) The world’s greatest commute

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Media captionEthiopian cliff church provides priest with daily test of faith

Our team filmed this about one man’s amazing journey to work in Ethiopia – more than 33,000 people shared this from our Facebook page. Just sit back and enjoy.

4) This devoted couple

Image copyright Reuters

They are Guido Huwiler and his wife Rita Ruettimann from Switzerland.

Guido is the father of freestyle skier Mischa Gasser. He and Rita left their Swiss village last February to cycle 17,000km (10,600 miles) through 20 countries to see him compete in the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

“To arrive here and see my son waiting for us… we were really touched. I had no words,” Guido said. *Sniff*

It’s worth taking a look at the couple’s journey on their Instagram feed.

Mischa ended up 11th of 12 in the freestyle skiing final on Sunday. Not that that matters.

5) This barrier-breaking skateboarder

Go Lola!

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Media captionSmashing stereotypes: Nine-year-old skateboarder Lola wants more girls to get involved in skateboarding

6) This outfit

Image copyright Reuters

From Gucci’s women’s collection during Milan Fashion Week, in case you were wondering.

7) This couple

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

We couldn’t not mention this.

These two Canadian figure skaters are either a couple deeply in love or actors deserving of Oscars.

Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue been skating together since 1997 and are… very much in synch with one another, as you can see:

Image copyright EPA

The surprising news? They’re not an item, they say.

You can read more about Canada’s love-in with the couple here

*Our next column will have less of a Winter Olympics theme.

8) This touching letter to a teacher

Written in response to the teacher’s pet dog Charlie dying, it has all the feels and then some.

Here’s some footage of Charlie if you want to see what he looked like:



The UK’s first male basketball cheerleader

Terrell Lawrence struggled to fit in when growing up. He faced both homophobic and racial abuse.

But that all changed after he joined the Plymouth Raiders Cheerleaders, making him one of the main stars at the basketball games.

Filmed and Produced by Ally Reeve



Labour’s general secretary Iain McNicol resigns

Labour"s general secretary Iain McNicol Image copyright PA

The general secretary of the Labour party, Iain McNicol, has stood down “to pursue new challenges” after serving for a “tumultuous seven years”.

In a statement, issued late on Friday, Mr McNicol said he would continue to work “in the service” of the party.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thanked him for his service, adding he had been “a credit to our movement”.

The Conservatives said Mr McNicol had been toppled after “persistent attempts” by supporters of Mr Corbyn.

A spokesman said: “Iain McNicol’s departure shows once again that Labour are putting their own bitter internal politics before ordinary people and their priorities.”

Mr Corbyn praised the former trade union official’s long and dedicated service.

“He has run our party’s organisation at a time of great change, including a near tripling of the membership, two general elections and the EU referendum,” he said.

Mr McNicol said he would continue to support Mr Corbyn’s leadership and work closely with him.

A number of Labour MPs have paid tribute to Mr McNicol, with Chuka Umunna saying the party owed him “a huge debt of gratitude”.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said Mr McNicol had led his staff “with courage, conviction and dedication”.

Labour’s Stella Creasy said he left big shoes to fill with his “experience, passion and commitment” to the party.

Labour said officers of the party will meet to decide the process for the election of a successor.

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason said Mr McNicol’s resignation illustrated the changing of the political guard within the Labour Party.

He added that supporters of Mr Corbyn said Mr McNicol was “out of step with where the party now is”.

In 2016, the former general secretary publicly defended his staff when they were criticised by some of Mr Corbyn’s backers after he was re-elected as Labour leader.



Rent burden ‘leads to student stress’

Student in room (posed by model) Image copyright Getty Images

Students are suffering from stress and anxiety caused by the pressures of housing costs, a survey has suggested.

Average rent for student accommodation totals £131 a week, eating up nearly all of a typical maintenance loan or grant, even before a typical £509 in upfront letting fees and deposit are taken into account.

The maintenance loan is designed to cover living costs, is separate from the student loan to pay for tuition fees, and is dependant on family household income.

The survey, by student finance website Save The Student, claims that the average award leaves a typical UK student with only £8 a week for all other living costs such as food, travel and toiletries, after the rent has been paid.

Image caption Jake Butler says the cost of living should be part the student finance debate

“The fact that the maintenance loan barely covers students’ rent is shocking. Students are forced to get a job at the expense of their studies or rely on their parents who may struggle to support them,” says Jake Butler, operations director at the website.

“Forget about tuition fees and high interest rates. Now that the government are finally reviewing the student finance system, a fairer maintenance loan should be at the top of their agenda.”

So how do students cope financially? Here, three explain how they have tried to keep the costs down.

Living at home

Fiona Scott is studying social science in Edinburgh and decided to move back home owing, in part, to the financial difficulties she faced.

It means the 20-year-old now faces a commute, by bus, of up to two hours to get to lectures and classes five days a week.

Image copyright Fiona Scott
Image caption Fiona says some students find it tough dealing with money

“I wanted to stay part of the student experience but there are a lot of hidden costs,” she says.

“I have seen people crash and burn financially in their first month. Others have had problems having to wait for a grant to come through on time. It put them in a hard position.

“I moved because I was exhausted. It means I have saved money overall.”

Where to go for help

  • Student finance: What you need to know, from the independent Money Advice Service
  • Save The Student website
  • Maintenance loans and grants information in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland
  • Money and funding, from the National Union of Students

Some 44% of students struggle to keep up with rent, according to the Save The Student survey. Nearly half (45%) of respondents said their mental health suffered as a result. Almost a third (31%), like Fiona, said their study risked being affected.

Yet, relatively few – just 8% of those surveyed – choose to live with their parents instead. On average, these stay-at-home students pay £167 a month to their parents, some £400 less a month than those paying rent to a landlord.

Students, on average, live just 20 minutes from their campus. Those living at home often have to travel further.

Staying on in halls of residence

Rosalynn Funnell says that staying on in a university hall of residence for a second year is “abnormal”.

“I may be missing out on the social side [of a shared house] but it is a decision I had to make,” the 20-year old says.

Some 29% of students asked in the survey lived in university halls.

Image copyright Rosalynn Funnell
Image caption Rosalynn has decided to stay in halls of residence

Rosalynn, who is studying for a Masters in town planning at Oxford Brookes University, says that her maintenance loan failed to cover her living costs.

Her father has withdrawn cash from his pension to support her – a sacrifice which she is “very conscious of” when organising her finances.

“I am living in accommodation that costs me £7,000 a year, but I know people living 10 to a house in the city centre who are paying more than that,” she says.

She is far from alone in turning to parents for financial, practical and moral support.

The survey suggests that 43% of respondents turned to parents, 32% used university services, and 30% went to friends.

Looking for cheap rent

Shane Dooner was living in university accommodation in Plymouth, but found a cheaper alternative in a privately rented shared house.

The 21-year-old, studying primary education, was replacing another tenant who needed to move out and so got a cheaper deal.

He did not feel he was getting value for money from his previous accommodation – a view shared by one in three of those asked in the survey. He felt in effect he was confined to a single room while still paying a significant amount of rent.

Sharing a house can bring its own challenges. The biggest concern by far for student renters, according to this survey, is noisy housemates.

Shane is from a low-income background and so receives a maintenance loan, but he supplements this by working as a team leader at Tesco.

“There are quite a few people whose parents have to pay, but many are not in a position to do that,” he says.

Geography has a big effect on this burden. The Save The Student research suggests students in London face the highest rents (£222 a week on average),

The East of England comes next (£150 a week), followed by Scotland (£147 a week), the South East of England (£146 a week) and the South West (£144 a week) – all without the location-weighted loan allowance that students in London can get.

Northern Ireland was the cheapest, with typical rent of £71 a week.

Whatever the costs and support, the independent, government-backed Money Advice Service suggests that financial planning is key.

“If you receive your maintenance loans or other awards or means-tested funding at the beginning of each term, it can seem like a lot of money, but making it last for both the academic year and holidays can be quite a stretch,” it says.

“It is a good idea to work out a budget based on the money you have coming in and out, regularly.”

Your results

Amount of the United Kingdom that has housing you can afford

Range of affordable areas includes: Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon and Belfast

No affordable areas

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You have a big enough deposit and your monthly payments are high enough. The prices are based on the local market. If there are 100 properties of the right size in an area and they are placed in price order with the cheapest first, the “low-end” of the market will be the 25th property, “mid-priced” is the 50th and “high-end” will be the 75th.