University hardship fund requests from cash-strapped students have soared recently, according to a BBC survey published today, with the notorious economic slop-bucket of Plymouth topping the league with a 38% increase in applications.
Higher Education Minister David Lammy told reporters: "Nowadays more and more students are studying at their nearest university - meaning that the University of Plymouth is stuffed to the rafters with thicky middle-class Janners who thought they'd hit on a fantastic scheme for postponing a lifetime of Jobcentre pestering by a few years."
"After they'd pissed their loans away over Freshers', though," he went on, "They found they had no option but to take a menial part-time job in a supermarket or a bar, selling alcohol to those students from further afield who had at least some idea of the basics of money management. Unfortunately, those students in turn fell victim to the ridiculously high cost of living in Plymouth - and, as they stop buying booze, the student staff become superfluous to the supermarkets and bars and get the sack. It's a vicious circle."
"I suggest they try prostitution," concluded the minister optimistically. "At least Plymouth's armed forces personnel still have a few bob in their pockets."
University vice-chancellors seized on the announcement with glee, claiming it supported their call for astronomical increases in fees.
"Hardship funds are generally only accessible to UK students," said a vice chancellor with a wig and clip-on beard. "If we could only get rid of these impoverished British morons and replace them all with wealthy international students, we could abolish these wretched funds altogether and use the money instead to pay for jollies - whoops, sorry - arduous management missions to set up academic partnerships in countries which happen to be blessed with an abundance of surf-kissed white beaches."
A BBC economist suggested that, as hardship fund applications stood at zero as recently as last August, that month must therefore mark the actual beginning of the recession. He then went on to argue why the BBC licence fee would represent better value than ever before at only £142.50.