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5 promises the Green Party is making to young people


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Whether you keep up with politics or not, it’s important to remember that the Government’s decisions do affect you - and that each party has policies directly aimed at young people.

Jonathan Bartley at the Green Party Autumn Conference in 2016

As part of a series explaining what each party is offering this general election, and to make it a little easier to comprehend, here are five of the ways the Green Party promises to help our generation.

1. A fair wage

It’s always been confusing to me that at the tender age of 16, I was receiving less money in my part time job than Dave, who was a couple of years older than me, and he less than Eric, who was that little bit older than him.

Did Dave do a better job than me? Did Eric do a better job than him? In fact it was probably the other way round. It was my first job and I was trying to impress in order to build my CV. Now in my 20s, I’m still trying to strengthen my experience and working just as hard as the more seasoned professionals.

So why is there such a gap? The current National Minimum Wage for under 18s is just £4.05 per hour. For 18-20 year olds it’s £5.60, for 21-24s it’s £7.05, and for those 25 and over there’s an extra 45p, taking you to £7.50.

That’s a huge £3.45 gap in pay from under 18 to over 25, regardless of whether or not you’re doing the same job. The Green Party want to scrap age-related wage bands and finally make it equal for all. That will help with those pesky student loans…

2. Talking about student loans...

I was getting the lowest wage possible when I first started looking at universities, and to add insult to injury, I was also in the first cohort to be hit with the increased tuition fees.

It’s an extortionate amount of money, which only looks to increase further in the coming years with the cap on universities being set to fluctuate depending on quality of teaching and a new ranking system.

But the Green Party pledges to scrap tuition fees altogether. Hooray! Not only that, but they also want to bring back living grants which help students who may struggle with the costs of university, giving them an equal opportunity to succeed.

3. Brexit

Regardless of whether you voted leave or remain, it’s fair to say that what’s important now is the deals our Government makes in negotiations.

With the huge majority of 18-24 year olds voting to remain, it only seems fair that whichever party is responsible for the negotiations is listening to their needs too. Well, the Green Party seems to have your back, again.

I can’t have been the only one to have been in a state of shock the day following the news that Brexit was official. Would I still be able to travel freely through Europe? Spend a year teaching English in Spain? What would it mean for studying abroad? I even booked an interrail trip for this summer, over fears that soon it would be a lot more complex than hopping on and off trains.

Luckily the Green Party has pledged to “Guarantee the rights of young people to study, work, live and travel in the EU, including through schemes like Erasmus.” 

4. Your health

If like me you’ve grown up with free healthcare, you’re probably just as petrified as I am by the prospect of having it privatised - especially if you’ve recently been hit by a ridiculously expensive bill for that filling you needed.

Unfortunately, that’s the current reality of it. But the Green Party has promised to roll back privatisation of the NHS, making sure that it stays “free at the point of access”. No getting your debit card out before being treated for that broken arm…

Another really important policy is based around mental health care. The Green Party, quite rightly, want to bring mental health care to the standards or physical health care, meaning there’s better support and training within the public sector.

They also have said they want to provide “more funding for sexual health awareness campaigns, provide greater access to free condoms and sexual health clinics; removing VAT from sanitary products… provided free of charge to those in extreme financial need.” Sounds good to us.

5. The right to Vote

How many of you received an education outside of your home when it came to politics? I know I received none. But that didn’t mean I didn’t have an opinion and it didn’t mean that at 16 my opinion didn’t matter. It did matter, because at 16, I got my first job on minimum wage, then I went to university to better myself whilst racking up a huge amount of debt, then I wanted to see the world and open myself up to new opportunities and some time in the future I’m probably going to need some free healthcare… so yes, my opinion definitely matters.

The Green Party not only want to introduce an education on politics, but they also want to change the voting age to 16. That’s likely to make a huge difference to the polls, probably in favour of those of us who have lived through the changes.

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