Your Vote, Your Voice, Your Future

The choices at tomorrow’s General Election are stark and have been illustrated again and again by the nature of the Labour and Tory campaigns.

Whilst Labour has taken every opportunity to put forward a vision of hope and a better Britain, the Tories have concentrated on the politics of fear and division. Unlike Labour, the Tories are offering nothing to secure a more prosperous, more equal and more secure future.

This is the case when it comes to young people in particular.

The Tories ‘offer’ ever increasing tuition fees and debt and cuts to Further Education, continued age discrimination in the minimum wage and no action to tackle zero hour contracts and other forms of insecure work that particularly effect younger workers that have risen under their watch.

This is the continuation of actions that have hit young people time and time again since 2010, exclusion from the so called "national living wage", cutting housing benefit and scrapping Educational Maintenance Allowance. 

Too many are facing extortionate rents and under the Tories, tuition fees have trebled to over £9,000 a year since 2012 and graduates are being held back by starting their working lives saddled with debts averaging almost £45,000.

Labour believes that things don’t have to be this way, that we can do better and we can restore people’s faith in politics after the vicious cuts and broken promises of recent years.

Labour will lift £38 billion debt burden from students’ shoulders.

Under our plans this will be reduced by an average of more £27,000 for students who don’t qualify for a maintenance grant, and to zero for students who do. Students who have already graduated will be protected from above inflation interest rate rises on existing debt.

Not only will tuition fees be abolished under Labour from 2018, we will also write off the first year of fees for students planning to start university this September.

Our support for free education is just one part of our programme to give young people real control over their futures, and I am seeing on the doorstep how we are starting to restore belief amongst students and young people that politics can make a difference and change.

A Labour government will also introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour by 2020 for all over 18s, ensuring that young people are paid the same wages when they are doing the same work. We will ban unpaid internships and zero hours contracts and bring security and equality to the workplace to give younger workers a chance of career progression and can imagine a future at work.
We will bring back housing benefit for under-21s and introduce an inflation cap on rent rises that will stop skyrocketing rents that swallow up so much of people’s incomes, so everyone can afford a decent home over their head.

And because everyone should have a say over their future, we will lower the voting age to 16 to increase participation in our democracy.

These pledges will make sure the opportunities to stay in education, go to university, move out of the family home if they wish, and earn enough to live on are opportunities shared by the many, not the few.

But for these policies to be implemented, we need everyone who supports them to use their vote on Thursday.

It’s amazing that just over 1 million 18-24 year olds applied to registered to vote between when the General Election was called on April 18 and the voter registration deadline on May 22.

But there is no room for complacency - in the 2015 general election, for example, turnout for people aged 18-24 was 43%, whilst amongst the population as a whole, two out of every three voted, according to polling company Ipsos MORI.

All the polls this time suggest that the more young people vote, the better Labour will do, with our message of hope gathering support across the country.

If you oppose the Tories’ reactionary agenda, don’t wake up on Friday to the sight of five more years of Theresa May and regret that you hadn’t taken the time to vote or encouraged others to vote when you could have done. 

Only Labour will give Britain’s young people back control over their futures. Please use your vote tomorrow, and make sure everyone you know does too, not just for your own future but for a better Britain for all.

To find about volunteering for Labour on Thursday visit http://www.labour.org.uk/w/polling-day-volunteers-qs

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