WINCHESTER has lost more than £10 million due to the pandemic keeping students away.

According to research by Studee, city businesses have missed out on more £13.7 million.

Takeaways have lost £1.4 million; an expected £2.5 million has not been spent on social events and £1.7 million has been lost on transport.

The biggest contribution is £5.5 million not being spent on groceries, and £1.3 million has not been spent on clothes.

Steve Brine, Winchester and Chandler's Ford MP, said: “No-one should be surprised at these shocking figures; students are an integral part of the city and that ranges from the spending they bring of course but also the jobs they do while here and the vibrancy they bring to Winchester.

"Our wonderful University is a lynchpin of the area and we all need to support it every step of the way to come back stronger."

Laura Rettie, vice president of Studee, said: "It’s no wonder the government has been so keen to get students back to university, despite the fact mass movement of young people during a pandemic probably isn’t the wisest course of action. Students bring a huge amount of money into the areas they choose to study in - money many small towns simply can’t afford to lose.

"Students have recently been blamed for coronavirus outbreaks, but we shouldn’t be using students as scapegoats when it was the government who urged them to get back to campus, with no clear guidance about studying online instead. Sadly for many university towns across the country the economic pain is likely to be felt for many years to come."