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  • Tue 03 May 2016 11:14

    Scenes from the LSE Library. 

    A huge thank you to LSE Instagrammers (from top) @thekingelizabeth, @virgyeveryv@iba_jai@imblanc, @avindi_@wonderpig_x@martaaolive, @dariabernes and @schokola_mao for sharing their photos. 

    (Give them a follow!)

  • Sun 01 May 2016 18:09

    ‘No room for graduates as rents soar’, the Financial Times reported in 2013. If London’s rents were a problem then, it’s safe to say they’re in a crisis now. Compounded with the problem of transport costs, which are the highest in Europe, ordinary London residents are under a huge financial burden. But with loans to cover university costs, rent costs and transport fares ever on the rise, and incomes staying static, London’s students are being driven into huge amounts of debt. They’re being disadvantaged by London’s system before they’ve even begun to work in it. 

    The London Mayor determines these costs - not only today, but in the future too. 

    London’s residents are electing a new Mayor on 5 May, and if you have the ability to vote in the election, we believe you should. 

    To help LSE students make an informed decision, we’ve summarised the major candidates’ policies on housing and transport.


    Zac Goldsmith - Conservative Party candidate


    Zac grew up in London, near Richmond Park, the son of a businessman and financier. He was educated at Eton College and the Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies. 

    From 1998 to 2007, he was the editor of The Ecologist magazine, after his uncle and the magazine’s owner, Edward Goldsmith, gifted it to him. Goldsmith was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Quality of Life Policy Group in 2005, co-authoring its report published in 2007. He began representing Richmond Park as its Member of Parliament (MP) in 2010 after the General Election.

    Housing policies

    If elected Mayor, Zac plans to:

    • Double home building to 50,000 a year by 2020 and ensuring development is in keeping with the local area
    • Give Londoners the first chance to buy new homes built in London
    • Ensure a significant proportion of all new homes are only for rent and not for sale

    Transport policies

    If elected Mayor, Zac plans to:

    • Ensure the Night Tube goes ahead, starting Crossrail 2, and growing the rail network
    • Bring suburban rail services under the Mayor’s control to increase and improve the service
    • Protect the Freedom Pass

    Zac’s campaign website:


    Sian Berry - Green Party candidate

    The power of good ideas

    Sian was born and raised in Cheltenham, and attended Pate’s Grammar School where her father worked as a teacher. She attended Trinity College, Oxford and moved to London in 1997.

    Sian spearheaded the Green Party’s Energy Works Campaign, calling for low carbon, non-nuclear energy to tackle climate change. She led a campaign against the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. She was the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for the Hampstead and Highgate constituency in 2005, coming in fourth, after which she was elected the Green Party’s Female Principal Speaker from 2006 to 2007. She was the Green candidate for the 2008 London mayoral election, also coming in fourth, and was elected to the Highgate ward of Camden London Borough Council in 2014.

    Housing policies

    If elected Mayor, Sian plans to:

    • Creating a half-billion-pound fund for house-building and a not-for-profit company in City Hall as an alternative to major developers, to ensure new homes are affordable.
    • Help people buy homes under models in which they pay for buildings rather than land. 
    • Introduce a Community Homes Unit to help communities lead their own plans for their estates. 
    • Introduce a People’s Land Commission to help identify new sites for building and consolidate land spaces.
    • Introduce new planning rules to stop estate demolitions, and make sure that masterplans for changes are led by residents.
    • Push for rent controls and support renters’ rights with a London Renters’ Union.

    Transport policies

    If elected Mayor, Sian plans to:

    • Flatten London’s zone structure, reducing the number of zones to four by 2017 and bringing in a completely flat fare structure by 2025. 
    • Introduce the ‘ONE Ticket’ that lets travellers change between any mode of transport, removing costs involved in switching between trains and buses. 
    • Ensure that the cost of the daily travel cap matches the amount saved on a monthly travelcard.

    Sian’s campaign website:


    Sadiq Khan - Labour Party Candidate

    A Mayor for all Londoners

    Sadiq was born in London and has lived here all his life, with his wife and two daughters. His parents moved to London from Pakistan in the 1960s and he grew up in a council house.

    Before being elected MP for Tooting in 2005 he was a human rights lawyer focusing on discrimination cases. In 2008 he was appointed the Minister for Community Cohesion, working with people of all faiths to promote greater understanding and cohesion. As Minister of Transport he became the first Muslim and first Asian to attend Cabinet. He was re-elected to Parliament in 2015.

    Housing Policies

    If elected Mayor, Sadiq will:

    • Set up a London-wide not-for-profit lettings agency for good landlords, building on the work that councils have started, and ending rip-off fees for renters.
    • Create a Homes for London Living Rent – a new type of home for people struggling to rent privately, where rents are based on one-third of average local wages.
    • Work alongside boroughs to promote landlord licensing schemes to drive up standards, and make the case to government for London-wide landlord licensing.
    • Name and shame rogue landlords and ensure tenants have access to this information online.
    • Build thousands of new homes each year with 50% of these being genuinely affordable.

    Transport Policies

    If elected Mayor, Sadiq will:

    • Freeze all TfL fares and charges for the Mayor’s cycle hire scheme for four years.
    • Introduce ‘The Hopper’ – a new one hour bus ticket allowing unlimited changes within an hour, so that a £1.50 single ticket pays for a full journey.
    • Increase the proportion of TfL’s budget spent on cycling.
    • Deliver more cycle storage and parking, using the London Plan to ensure provision in new developments, while working with London boroughs deliver on-street secure provision.
    • Deliver the Night Tube if Boris Johnson fails to get it up and running by May, ensuring we implement this much-needed new service in the most efficient way possible.

    Sadiq’s campaign website:


    Caroline Pigeon - Liberal Democrat Candidate


    Caroline grew up in Hampshire and was the first person in the family to go to university, studying in Aberystwyth. After graduating she moved to south London where she started working as a solicitor.

    Caroline was elected as a councillor for Southwark Council in 1998 until 2010, where she also served as Deputy Leader of the Council.  She was also elected to the London Assembly, where in 2008 she served as Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee from 2009-2010 (previously having been Vice-Chair).  She has launched campaigns for a One-Hour Bus Ticket, Early-bird fares and for a part-time travelcard.

    Housing Policies

    If elected Mayor Caroline will:

    • Crack down on rogue landlords who rip off private tenants, by extending mandatory registration, curbing unfair letting agent fees.
    • Set up a central unit to prosecute rogue landlords, and mandate councils to take much greater enforcement action, including forcing landlords to make improvements to their properties.
    • Renew the Mayor’s kite mark for responsible renting in the private sector, encouraging good landlords and especially their agents to register on a new online website portal particularly useful for students and young people looking for safe and decent accommodation.
    • Ensure that all landlords abide by the terms of the Tenants’ Deposit Protection Scheme, so that landlords cannot unfairly delay or keep tenants’ deposits when they move out
    • Invest billions to build 50,000 council homes to rent and 150,000 for sale or for private rent.

    Transport Policies

    If elected Mayor Caroline will:

    • Introduce a one-hour bus ticket – to allow passengers to change buses without needing a new ticket.
    • Introduce half price fares for Tube, Overground rail and DLR travellers before 7.30am.
    • Introduce flexible travel cards – to allow passengers to buy a set number of days’ travel each month and receive the same discount as a monthly travel card.
    • Increase the budget for cycling infrastructure to 3% of the TfL budget.
    • Introduce more segregated cycle lanes.

    Caroline’s campaign website:


    Peter Whittle - United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Candidate

    Working hard for Londoners

    Peter was born in Peckham and moved to Shooters Hill in South London where he grew up; he went to a local grammar school and attended the University of Kent.

    He had a 15-year career in the media - as a TV producer and director of factual programmes for both UK and USA networks, and subsequently in print journalism. Nearly ten years ago, Peter founded a think tank based in Westminster, the New Culture Forum, of which he is still director. He has been UKIP’s Culture spokesperson for the past two years.  He has also been candidates for UKIP at the European Elections and local elections in 2014 and in the General Election in 2015.

    Housing Policies

    If elected Mayor, Peter will:

    • Decrease market demand: this is best done by controlling immigration and putting local people first.
    • Work to reverse the decision to grant planning permission for Houses of Multiple Occupants s under permitted development rights.
    • Build genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.
    • Ensure homes built using grants under the Affordable Homes Programme benefit local people who have lived in London for at least five years.
    • Campaign to prevent foreign nationals from obtaining access to social housing until they have lived here and paid UK Tax and National Insurance for a minimum of five years.

    Transport Policies

    If elected Mayor, Peter will:

    • Introduce a 90-minute multiple-journey bus ticket.
    • Remind the government and London MPs that their policies of allowing unlimited mass immigration from EU member states is causing chaos for transport in London.
    • Open the tube around the clock, seven days a week, except during maintenance inspections and engineering works.
    • Expand the Santander cycle hire scheme and make Santander cycles available for hire using an Oyster card.
    • Take a zero-tolerance attitude to poor cyclist behaviour, such as jumping red lights and cycling on pavements and invest in cycling training programmes.

    Peter’s campaign website:


    List of all candidates

    There are 12 candidates running in the 2016 Mayoral election. They are:

    • Sian Rebecca Berry - Green Party
    • David Furness - British National Party
    • George Galloway - RESPECT Party
    • Paul Golding - Britain First
    • Zac Goldsmith - Conservative Party
    • Lee Eli Harris - Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol
    • Sadiq Aman Khan - Labour Party
    • Ankit Love - One Love Party
    • Caroline Valerie Pidgeon - London Liberal Democrats
    • Sophie Walker - Women’s Equality Party
    • Peter Robin Whittle - UK Independence Party
    • Peter Zylinski - Independent

    How to vote

    If you’re registered to vote in London, you can vote in the London Mayoral Election. You should receive a polling card in the post before 5 May.

    For more information and to find out if you’re registered, head to the London Elects website.

    Voting opens on 5 May at 7am and closes at 10pm. You can only vote at the polling station closest to your residential address, which will be on your polling card. To look up your local polling station, head to the London Elects website..

    Cover image from the Huffington Post

  • Sat 30 Apr 2016 19:37

    Exceptional (aka extenuating) circumstances, a process that most universities have, allows students to inform their institution that something has impacted upon their performance. At LSE it’s slightly different.

    LSE has a Fit To Sit policy. This essentially means that by attempting an assessment - even by simply entering the exam room - you are declaring yourself fit to take it. Should you later realise this was not the case, submitting an exceptional circumstances form or appeal may be not be successful.

    It’s normal for stress levels to increase in exam mode. While there’s a range of support available from LSESU, LSE and De-Stress Fest, it’s important to identify if your studies are being significantly affected by stress so that you’re not being assessed unfairly.


    Knowing Your Options

    If, for whatever reason, you feel you’re not ‘fit to sit’, there are some options available to you. These are: 

    1. Postponing your exams until next year - also known as deferring.

    • If you are absent from an examination or fail to submit a dissertation you will receive a mark of zero (i.e a fail) for that course, which will count as an attempt. However, under certain circumstances the School will allow students to postpone one or more assessments to the next academic year. 
    • Deferrals will not be granted after a scheduled assessment has taken place.
    • You can seek permission to defer an exam after you have received all tuition and by no later than the day before an exam. In certain exceptional circumstances, requests to defer may be considered on the day of an exam (e.g. if a student suddenly falls ill and is not fit to sit). 
    • Application details are on the LSE website:

    2. Ensuring that you have individual exam adjustments in place. 

    • These allow you to adjust the circumstances under which you’re assessed to ensure they are fair. 
    • Common adjustments are made to writing time, the food, drink or medication you’re allowed to bring with you, having a smaller exam room or individual room, rest breaks, having a scribe/amanuensis or reader, specialist furniture, specialist equipment or use of a word processor.
    • You’ll be eligible for these if you have a disability, health condition (physical or mental) or learning need. 
    • Application details are on the LSE website:

    For more information on your options: 

    For advice on your specific circumstances: