General Election update

As you know, there will be a UK General Election on 8 June 2017. General Elections are a vital part of UK democracy, and the result will affect you all. See more about how the UK works on our page here.

If you can vote, we urge you to do so; your vote could make a real difference. You will need to be 18 or over on 8 June, and have registered to vote; if you haven’t yet registered, register now at this link; you’ve got until 11.59 pm on 22 May if you want to vote in this General Election.

Even if you can’t vote, you can still play your part in the election; and even if you don’t think of yourself as politically active, it’s good to know what is going on in your country.

With that in mind, we’ve had a look at the manifestos of the three main political parties, which were published this week. A manifesto sets out what a political party would do if it was in Government – how it would raise and spend money within the UK, what changes it would make to UK law, and what actions it would take internationally. A manifesto aims to persuade voters that the political party’s aims are the right ones, and that the party will actually be able to achieve them in Government.

The manifesto documents are long and detailed; they cover important issues like Brexit, the NHS, defence, industry, immigration, law and order and the environment. If you have a particular interest in any particular issue, find out what each party is saying about it – you can find the links to all the manifestos below.

Below, we’ve  dug out a few points from each manifesto each that refer particularly to young people (though it has to be said that there are not that many…).We’re not making any comment or judgement on any party or any policy ourselves. We have simply presented these proposals as the manifestos present them, and in alphabetical order of party! We’ll update with other party manifestos as they are published.

You are the future; you decide.

THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY

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You can find the full 84-page manifesto (called “Forward, Together”) here.

  • Schools  The Conservatives say they will continue with their policy of free schools, building at least 100 a year. They will allow new grammar schools (currently banned), but these will have to allow pupils to join at other ages, not just 11.
  • Technical education and apprenticeships The Conservatives say they will reform and improve technical education to provide “a  real choice between technical and academic routes” at 16. They will  establish new “institutes of technology” in every city in England, providing both degree courses and higher-level apprenticeships. They will create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020 and introduce “significantly discounted” bus and train travel for apprentices.
  • Mental health The Conservatives say they will publish a Green Paper (a document with Government proposals) on young people’s mental health before the end of 2017. They will reform Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services so that treatment is provided more quickly and nearer home.
  • Domestic violence The Conservatives say they will introduce a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill; this will provide for a new aggravated offence if behaviour is directed at a child. They will create a domestic violence and abuse commissioner in law.
  • Digital world The Conservatives say they will “educate today’s young people in the harms of the internet and how best to combat them, introducing comprehensive Relationships and Sex Education in all primary and secondary schools to ensure that children learn about the risks of the internet, including cyberbullying and online grooming”. They will give people more control of their own data, including the ability to require “major social media platforms” to delete information held about them at the age of 18.

The green party

You can find the full manifesto (called “The Green Party for a Confident and Caring Party” here).

  • Schools The Green Party says it will bring Academies and Free Schools into the local authority system, abolish SATS and reduce class sizes.

 

  • Further and higher education The Green Party says it will scrap university tuition fees, fund full student grants and greater public investment in further and higher education. It will restore Education Maintenance Allowance and “enable apprenticeships” to all qualified young people aged 16-25.

 

  • Housing The Green Party says it will protect young people’s housing needs by reinstating housing benefit for under-21s, stop Local Authorities declaring young people “intentionally homeless”, and invest in community house-building projects to provide affordable, secure housing options for young people

 

  • Work The Green Party says it will scrap age-related wage bands and will raise the national minimum wage to living wage levels for all.

 

  • EU The Green Party says it will guarantee the rights of young people to study, work, live and travel in the EU, including through schemes like Erasmus.

 

  • Health The Green Party says it will provide more funding for sexual health awareness campaigns and greater access to free condoms and sexual health clinics. It will remove VAT from sanitary products and ensure

 

  • Voting and citizenship The Green Party says it will introduce “non-biased” political education and promote active citizenship. It will lower the voting age to 16.

 

  • Public transport The Green Party says it will phase in free local public transport for young people and students

 

THE LABOUR PARTY

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You can find the full 123-page manifesto (called “For the Many Not the Few”) here.

  • Schools Labour says it will create a new unified National Education Service (NES) for England to move towards “cradle-to-grave learning” that is free at the point of use. It says it will not “waste money” on free schools or grammar schools.
  • Further education and apprenticeships Labour says it will restore the Educational Maintenance Allowance for 16-18 year olds, and invest more in the Further Education sector. Further Education courses will be free at the point of use. Labour says it will “set a target to double the number of completed apprenticeships at NVQ level 3 by 2022”.
  • University education Labour says it will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and abolish university tuition fees.
  • Social security Labour says it will restore housing benefit to 18-21 year olds.
  • Mental health Labour says it will increase the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people. It will ensure that access to a counselling service is available for all children in secondary schools.
  • Looked after children Labour says it will extend “Staying Put” arrangements to support all children and young people in residential and other forms of care until they are 21.
  • European Convention on the Rights of the Child Labour says it will make this convention part of UK law.
  • Domestic violence Labour says it will appoint a commissioner to set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual violence. It will make age-appropriate sex and relationship education a compulsory part of the curriculum “so young people can learn about respectful relationships”.
  • Digital world Labour says it “will ensure that young people understand and are able to easily remove any content they shared on the internet before they turned 18”.
  • Voting Labour will reduce the voting age to 16.

THE LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY

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You can find the full 94 page manifesto (called “Change Britain’s Future”) here.

  • Schools The Liberal Democrats say they will scrap the planned expansion of grammar schools. They will include in SRE teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content. They will “challenge gender stereotyping and early sexualisation, working with schools to promote positive body image and break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of particular academic subjects”.
  • Training for work The Liberal Democrats  say they will improve opportunities for vocational education, and expand the range of vocational qualifications. They say that they aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices.
  • Mental health The Liberal Democrats say they will ensure that schools provide immediate access for pupil support and counselling. They will make the promotion of wellbeing part of a school’s statutory duty. They will improve access and waiting times for mental health services, and consider establishing a new dedicated mental health service for children and young people.
  • Travel The Liberal Democrats will introduce a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card, for young people aged 16–21; this will give a two-thirds discount on bus travel
  • Voting The Liberal Democrats say they will introduce votes at 16 for all elections and referendums across the UK.

 

UKIP (UK Independence Party)

You can find the full 63 page manifesto (called “Britain Together”) here.

  • Schools UKIP say they will open a grammar school in every town, and will adapt the old 11+ system to add transfer examinations up to the age of 16. They will require Ofsted to conduct snap inspections of schools when parents or pupils have raised concerns that girls are being offered unequal access to music, dance, PE or drama lessons, or are otherwise discriminated against. They will make first aid learning compulsory so that all pupils obtain a “Basic Life-Saving Diploma”.

 

  • Work education/training  UKIP say they will introduce a scheme similar to Germany’s Dual Vocational Training system, in which students attend classes at a vocational school and receive on-the-job training at a company. They will introduce practical lessons on “employability” and setting up your own business into the syllabus.

 

  • University education UKIP say their long-term goal is to abolish tuition fees entirely once economic conditions allow. Meanwhile they ill immediately restore maintenance grants and abolish tuition fees for undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students, provided they work in their discipline and pay tax in the UK for at least five years after they complete their degree. They will cover the cost of all tuition fees for medical students, provided they commit to working within the NHS for at least ten out of the fifteen years after they qualify.

 

  • Mental health UKIP say they will develop a national school-based counselling strategy for England, on a par with Wales and Northern Ireland. Specialist counselling services will be available in all secondary schools. UKIP also say they will review advertising, broadcast and editorial codes so that healthy body images are promoted and men and women are treated with dignity.

 

  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) UKIP say they will strengthen the criminal law on this. They will implement a screening programme for girls identified to be at risk of FGM from birth to age sixteen, consisting of annual non-invasive physical check-ups. They will also carry out additional check-ups on girls at risk when they return to the UK from trips to countries where FGM is known to be customary.

Do any of these proposals inspire you? Do you think you should be able to vote at age 16? What other issues do you think the parties should include in their manifestos? Get in touch with us, via Facebook, Instagram or at contactagnesforgirls@gmail.com.