2017 General Election: What Every Young Person Needs To Know About The Different Parties
June 8th is approaching fast, and with so many different parties, it’s kind of hard to keep track of just who stands for what.
But don’t cross them all off your voting list just yet. We have taken it upon ourselves to sift through all the manifestos to give you a simple general election lowdown. We’re going to be getting into all the policies that might affect young people, so you can easily find which ones you agree with.
Okay, cool. Now that the intro is out of the way – let’s dive straight into parties:
The Conservative Party (AKA. The Tories)
Conservative Leader: Theresa May
The Tories are currently in government, so if they win, that means that Theresa May will continue being the Prime Minister. Most people believe that the Conservative policies only favour the rich, and although they have tried to shed this image, people still think that they’re super “snobby” (Theresa May has even been compared to Regina George of Mean Girls). Here are some the key policies from their new manifesto:
- Education: the Tories want to scrap free school lunches for infants all over England. They also expect every 11-year-old to know know their times tables off by heart (LOL). They’re also going to introduce T-Levels (a vocational alternative to A-Levels) in colleges.
- Worker’s rights: The Tories want to increase the National Living Wage to 60% of median earnings by 2020, and they also want to make sure that people working in short-term contracts or freelance work are properly protected.
- Health: Foreign workers and overseas students will have to pay more for NHS care.
- Immigration: The Tories want to really crack down on immigration from outside the EU. Foreign students will be expected to leave the country at the end of their course unless they meet new “higher” requirements allowing them to stay.
- Housing: They want to halve the amount of people “rough sleeping” over the course of the next parliament and completely eliminate it by 2027.
- Brexit: Yeah, they want us to leave everything. The EU. The single market. Everything. And a referendum on Scottish independence cannot take place until the Brexit process is completed (#peak)
The Labour Party (AKA. Labour)
Labour Leader: Jeremy Corbyn
Labour is known as a party for the people – that includes minorities, young people, working families and more. Many grime artists, such as JME, Akala and Novelist, have voiced their support for Labour with the ‘Grime4Corbyn‘ movement, and there is even a song called the ‘Corbyn Riddim‘. Apart from all of that, however, what are some of Labour’s policies?
- Education: Most importantly, Labour wants to scrap tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants for university students. They also want to make school meals free for all primary school children.
- Worker’s Rights: Labour will give us four extra public holidays each year. They will also raise the minimum wage to at least £10 per hour by 2020. They are going to ban unpaid internships, and all workers (no matter your contract) will have equal rights.
- Health: They will scrap hospital car parking charges, and the NHS will receive more than £30bn in extra funding. All secondary school students will have access to a mental health counselling service as well.
- Immigration: There will be no set cap on immigration, but Labour believes in a reasonable management of migration.
- Housing: They will reinstate housing benefits for those under the age of 21. There will be 4,000 additional homes available to end homelessness, and there will be a ban on letting agency fees for tenants.
- Brexit: Whilst Labour will accept that the UK has left the EU, they will build a new, close relationship with the EU that prioritises jobs and and workers’ rights. They will also guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and work to “secure reciprocal rights” for UK citizens living elsewhere in Europe.
The Scottish National Party (AKA. The SNP)
SNP Leader: Nicole Sturgeon
The Scottish National Party is pretty much all about Scotland – a better, fairer Scotland, to be precise. This election is important for the SNP in particular because they are really pushing for a second referendum on whether they should remain in the UK or not (ever since Brexit, they kind of don’t want to be associated with us anymore) and success in this election would really boost the chances of them being allowed to implement it. Let’s get into their policies:
- Education: The SNP want to give more power and resources directly to schools so teachers, parents and communities can make decisions.
- Housing: They will build 50,000 new affordable houses across Scotland by 2021, including 35,000 for social rent. They will also reduce the amount of time people spend in temporary accommodation.
- Transport: The SNP will improve bus services, and they will also encourage people to switch to cycling.
- Brexit: Scotland wants to have a special status after Brexit (eg. remaining in the single market). They also definitely want a second referendum on independence from the UK.
The Liberal Democrats (AKA. The Lib Dems)
Liberal Democrat Leader: Tim Farron
The Lib Dems are a lot like Hufflepuff in Hogwarts – they’re nice guys, but they don’t really get much of the spotlight, do they? Both Labour and Conservative can be equated to Gryfindoor and Slytherin, regarding the ways in which they dominate the elections – and this time, it seems to be no different. Having said that, however, the Lib Dems have made themselves stand out this year with a brand new manifesto that includes some surprising policies. Let’s take a look at just what they are:
- Education: Lib Dems want to double the number of businesses that hire apprentices, and they also aim to reinstate university maintenance grants for the poorest students.
- Worker’s Rights: They will increase job seeker’s allowance and universal credit for 18-24 year olds. They also want to give 16-year-olds the right to vote.
- Health: The Lib Dems will reinstate student nurse bursaries, and they will also fast-track exceptional graduates into children’s social work. High achieving graduates will be encouraged to pursue a career in mental health and social work. They will also ensure that LGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding.
- Housing: Hyperfast, fibre-optic broadband will be installed across the UK, and at least 10 new garden cities will be created in England.
- Transport: They will introduce a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card for 16-21 year olds, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel.
- Brexit: The Liberal Democrats are very keen to have a second vote on Brexit. They want to protect freedom of movement and EU schemes which increase opportunities for young people, and they will also campaign against any reduction in investment in UK universities.
The UK Independence Party (AKA. UKIP)
UKIP Leader: Paul Nuttall
Most people hear UKIP and immediately think of Nigel Farage. Specifically, Nigel Farage laughing. More specifically, Nigel Farage laughing in a golden elevator in Trump Tower with the President himself. But UKIP isn’t even headed by Nigel anymore. Whilst the party has found a new leader in Paul Nuttall, most of its policies are still in the same super harsh, pro-Brexit, anti-immigration vein as they have always been. Check them out down below:
- Education: UKIP want to scrap tuition fees – but only for students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. They also want to stop tuition fees being paid for courses which do not lead at least two thirds of students into into a graduate level job, or a job corresponding to their degree, within five years after graduation.
- Worker’s Rights: New laws will require employers to advertise jobs to Brits before offering them to people overseas.
Health: They want to lift the cap on medical school training places from 7,500 to 10,000, and increase the number of nurse training placements.
- Immigration: They will introduce a “one in, one out” immigration system and a ban will be placed on unskilled and low-skilled immigrants for five years after Brexit. There will be no amnesty for illegal immigrants, and a “social attitudes” test will be introduced to stop people who believe women or gay people are “second-class citizens” from entering the country.
- Housing: 100,000 new homes will be provided for younger people every year, afforded by anyone earning a national average wage of £26,000.
- Brexit: UKIP wants all EU flags to be banned from being flown from public buildings in the UK after Brexit. They want June 23rd to be named ‘Independence Day’ and made into a bank holiday. They also want to make the British passport blue again.
The Green Party (AKA. Green)
Green Party Leaders: Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley
The Green Party are really just a bunch of well-meaning people. They are very concerned about climate change, and have incorporated many global warming solutions into their policies. They believe in equality and were even initially named “the People Party”. For some reason, they’re always kind of pushed to the background when it comes to elections, although their new manifesto has a few policies that have gotten people talking recently. Go ahead and look at what those are:
- Education: The Green Party aims to scrap university tuition fees.
- Worker’s Rights: They want there to be a four-day working week, which means that we would no longer be required to work five days a week (three-day weekends, basically). They also want to increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020. They want to scrap age-related wages as well, so that the national minimum wage is the same for everyone. The voting age will also be lowered to 16.
- Health: All health and dental services will be publicly provided and free. They also aim to bring mental health care in line with physical health care, and there will be access to free condoms and sexual health clinics.
- Immigration: There will be a humane immigration and asylum system that recognises and takes responsibility for Britain’s ongoing role in causing the flow of migrants worldwide.
- Housing: Housing benefits will be available for under-21s, and the bedroom tax will be abolished.
- Brexit: There will be a referendum on the final Brexit deal with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU. The rights of young people will be guaranteed when it comes to studying, working, living and travelling in the EU, including through schemes like Erasmus.
The Plaid Cmyru Party (AKA. Plaid Cmyru)
Plaid Cmyru Leader: Leanne Wood
With this party, most of it is about Wales. Much like the SNP, they have a large focus on Brexit, and how things don’t need to be as harsh as – say – UKIP might want them to be. They don’t really like the Tories much, and have claimed that the nation is “under threat” from their cruelty and recklessness. They have also gone ahead and called Labour a “weak and divided” party (Jeez, tell us how you really feel, eh?). Perhaps their policies will shed a bit more light on what they want:
- Education: Plaid Cmyru want to guarantee employment, education or training for any person under-25 looking for work. They also want to improve teachers’ training to allow them to perform better.
- Worker’s Rights: 16 and 17-year-olds will be granted the right to vote. They will also fight to keep job centres open.
- Health: 1,000 extra doctors and 5,000 more nurses will be trained in the next decade.
- Immigration and Brexit: They will guarantee the rights of all Europeans currently living and working in Wales, they will also secure the money promised to Wales by the Leave campaign, and not accept a penny less.
So, there you have it. The good, the bad and the ugly of each party. The policies listed above are, of course, just the ones that we feel might apply to young people, so go ahead and click through to their full manifestos if you want the full picture. Also, more than anything:
Let us know what you think in the comments!
Images via Giphy