National Landlords Association (NLA) regional representative for the north-east Johnny Lighten has described Liberal Democrat councillor for North Jesmond, Ron Armstrong, as prejudiced.

Reacting to an article by Mr Armstrong which appeared on the Jesmond Residents' Association website, the private landlord representative said that views expressed about students and higher education must be his own and not his party's.

In the statement, the councillor effectively called for students to be moved out of the North Jesmond area.

Losing part or all of the student population could negatively impact upon the community, Mr Lighten responded. He also called Newcastle's student population "one of the city's proudest assets".

"[Mr Armstrong's] vendetta against students must be brought to an end before further damage is done to Newcastle's reputation as an international centre of learning excellence,"the NLA employee added.

Meanwhile, private landlords may be among those affected by the current delay in many students receiving their grants and loans in time for the start of the new semester.

A number of instances have been reported in the UK, where students have been unable to pay for their accommodation due to a lack of government funds.

Written by John Weeks

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