A bold, costed plan to secure our future: Why Durham students should vote Labour

By George Walker, Durham University Labour Club

People are used to politicians telling them that they face important decisions – ‘once in a lifetime’ or ‘once in a generation’ they say. But when it comes to the 8th June, the politicians are right. The choice facing young people across the United Kingdom is one that will define our country for decades to come. We can continue with seven years of Conservative rule, which has seen the vast majority of people in our country subjected to under-investment and neglect, with our health service failing, our schools underfunded and millions of young people deprived of the opportunities they deserve, all whilst a privileged minority continue to benefit from needless giveaways. But on the 8th June people can vote to change the way our country is governed, and voting for change means voting Labour.

Unlike the Conservatives, the Labour Party does not talk in meaningless platitudes. We have put forward a bold, detailed and fully costed plan to transform the lives of millions of people across our country. We’ve pledged to abolish tuition fees, so that millions of young people can access the best possible education without having burden themselves with a lifetime of debt and we’ve committed to end the scourge of low-paying, insecure work by increasing the minimum wage to £10 hour by 2020, abolishing exploitative zero-hour contracts and ending the public sector pay freeze. We’ll also expand free childcare to help young parents into work, we will build over a million new homes and we will secure public ownership of our most essential services, ensuring that the investment we will make as taxpayers is spent on people, not on profit.

Our opponents claim that our vision for Britain is an impossible one, but the reality is that by ignoring the need for change, it is they who put the future of the British people at risk. By restoring corporation tax to a lower level than it was in 2008, with a modest rise in income tax for the wealthiest 5% and a small levy on companies paying salaries of over £330,000, Labour can fund these vital changes that will secure a more prosperous future for millions of young people across our country. With interest rates for government borrowing at record lows, the lowest wage growth in the OECD after Greece and seven years of politically motivated and economically illiterate Tory austerity, Britain needs a government that is willing to take the brave decision to invest in our country’s future. Only a Labour government will make that choice.

In a recent article, it was claimed that “Conservatives in Government have acted decisively to stand up and increase opportunities” for young people. But I would challenge the author to make that argument to young people in my hometown of Morley in West Yorkshire, or across County Durham, where the reality for most young people is one of insecurity, low pay and disenfranchisement, with the ambitions of attending University and owning a home being merely distant dreams.

In the 13 years after 1997, Labour made Britain a better place to live. We invested in our schools, our hospitals and our infrastructure and in the process, lifted millions of children and pensioners out of poverty. Labour has a proud history of delivering for the British people, and we now ask for the chance to be able to do so once again.

On the 8th June, young people and students across the country will vote to decide the kind of Britain we want to live in. A vote for the Labour Party is a vote to unlock opportunities for millions of young people neglected by the Conservatives and it is a vote to ensure that our generation and those after us, can enjoy the security and prosperity that many of us too often take for granted. For too long, we have lived in a country governed in the interests of the few. Only a vote for the Labour Party can secure a government that works in the interest of the many.

Photograph: Jonathan Rolande (housebuyfast.co.uk) via Flickr

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