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6 promises Labour is making to students


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Throughout a series of articles The National Student is covering what each major party is promising to young people in this general election. In this installment the focus is on Labour, and their key policies and promises affecting students as set out in their manifesto.

(Read about the Green Party's promises here, and look out for pieces outlining promises from the other political parties in the coming days.)

1. Higher Education

The key Labour promise to students is one that will make a significant financial difference, by not only abolishing tuition fees but also reintroducing the maintenance grants which have been removed under the Conservative government.

In a move titled “every child – and adult – matters” Labour promises to create an National Education Service (NES) which will be the 21st Century equivalent of the NHS in terms of creating fairness within society by stopping the average graduate owing £44,000 when they leave university, and instead starting their working living debt free. 

2. Further Education

As well as promising improvements in the finances of university students, Labour’s manifesto also promises to help those in further education, including college students and those in apprenticeships.

They pledge to bring back the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), also scrapped by the Conservative government, which helps students from low-income families stay in education, as well as introducing free, lifelong education to allow anyone of any age to upskill or retrain.

3. Rights at Work

Alongisde their studies, many students have to work to financially support themselves, especially given the Conservative cuts to maintenance grants, and therefore Labour’s policy on rights within the work place are of interest to many of those at university.

Labour promises to ban zero hour contracts and give all workers equal rights from day one, even if they are temporary or part-time, thus giving students better experiences at work.They also want to ban unpaid internships on the grounds of being unfair and privileging the rich, a policy bound to be popular with any student who has attempted to finance their summer whilst being faced with the prospect of unpaid internships.

4. Secure Homes for All

Student digs can often be less than sanitary, but under Labour there would be minimum legal standards to ensure that any rented property is fit for human habitation, with financial sanctions if landlords fail to meet this basic criteria.

The manifesto also promises to put an inflation cap on rent rises, helping to curb soaring leases, and create three-year tenancies to give people home security.

5. Mental Heath

It is estimated that at least one in four people experience mental health problems each year, with this number often higher in the high pressure environment of universities.

Referred to as the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age, Labour promises to protect mental health budgets and concentrate on early intervention to help those in need, as well as ensure that children and young adults are not treated on adult psychiatric wards. 

6. Culture for All

Finally, Labour has also promised to allow individuals to remove any content that they shared on the internet before they turned 18. Although primarily designed to protect vulnerable children, for students it may well mean that embarrassing teenage fashion decisions will no longer be mocked in fresher’s week.

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