Daisy Eyre, CUSU President, announced at Monday's CUSU Council that the student union anticipates making a smaller loss than expected this financial year. Their Mid-Year Budget Review suggests that they will recoup £5000 and that this variance from the projection is explained by a surprise reduction in anticipated NUS affiliation fees.
This comes as a surprise as CUSU announced this time last year that the affiliation fee had risen from the projected £250 to £5,675, reflecting a staggering 2200% increase. The fee hike was attributed to a reinterpretation of CUSU’s ‘block grant’, a sum usually paid in termly installments. CUSU’s notes also stated that the affiliation fee was expected to rise even further to £9,500 in 2017-18. This is despite students being informed at the time of CUSU’s NUS affiliation referendum in May 2016 that the NUS fee for 2016-17 would only be £250.
Nevertheless, Eyre revealed that the student union had been invoiced for the original fee. Regarding the change, she told the Council that that CUSU “don’t know why” they have been billed for less than the expected projection.
Eyre also came under scrutiny on the issue of The Cambridge Student's finances. When asked by Varsity about how much revenue the student union had made through TCS advertising, CUSU refused to declare any figures due to it being "commercially sensitive" information. In the budget review document, it stated that the paper's print run was performing worse than expected; however Eyre clarified that the description of the paper as making "a significant loss" was a "miscommunication", and rebutted claims that the paper was expected to spend over-budget.
She described TCS as "not a problem", and the Board of Directors of The Cambridge Student released the following statement: “We appreciate Daisy acknowledging that the wording of the statement was misleading, and that she clarified this at CUSU Council. We would like to reiterate that the fiscal responsibility of TCS lies with the CUSU Finance Team, and not with the Board or Editors. Our financial situation is reliant on advertising revenue brought in by the CUSU team, and we always encourage their efforts."