In the run up to the general election, The Student analyses the main parties’ manifestos, allowing you to make an informed choice on the issues that matter most when polling opens on June 8.
The Labour party’s manifesto – For the Many, Not the Few – includes education and housing policies that will directly impact both students and graduates.
Along with a plan to increase the national minimum wage to £10 by 2020 and nationalise key industries – including railways, buses and the Royal Mail, – Labour pledges to abolish tuition fees and build a million new homes if elected.
The Labour manifesto places education at its core. The party promises to create a National Education Service in England that will provide equal schooling opportunities from the early years through to adult education.
As a part of this, the party promises to abolish university tutition fees, which were increased from £6,000 to £9,000 under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2012. This would also mean that students currently at university would pay no further fees for the remainder of their course.
According to a report by the Sutton Trust last year, the average UK student paying £9,000 in tuition fees graduates with £44,000 in debt, the highest rate in the English-speaking world.
At Labour’s manifesto launch, party leader, Jeremy Corbyn said: “Labour will lift this cloud of debt and make education free for all as part of our plan for a richer Britain for the many not the few.
“We will scrap tuition fees and ensure universities have the resources they need to continue to provide a world-class education.”
The manifesto also commits to building one million new homes by the end of the next parliament, with at least 100,000 council and housing association properties built each year to address the current social housing crisis.
Last year, The Guardian reported that over a million people are currently on the waiting list for council housing in England alone, with a further 173,000 on the waiting list in Scotland. Labour have also pledged to limit rent increases and introduce national minimum standards for private landlords.
Along with reversing other welfare benefit cuts, the manifesto states that the party would reinstate housing benefit for under 21’s after the Conservative Government controversially scrapped it earlier this year.
In regards to Brexit negotiations, the Labour party’s manifesto includes a commitment to keeping the UK in the single market and the customs union, as well as securing a deal which will prioritise “jobs and living standards”.
Their manifesto also states that leaving the European Union with no deal would be the worst possible option for the UK and would have a devastating impact on economy and trade.
Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South since 2010 and candidate currently standing for re-election, told The Student: “Regardless of who you vote for, its vital that students and young people use their vote so that their voices can be heard.
“Students have been betrayed by the Tories, Lib Dems and the SNP in terms of the unmanageable tuition fees, cuts to students grants and the reduction in available college places.
“Labour’s policies continuously reflect the wishes and needs of young people in Britain,” he added, “I have really enjoyed working for the students living in my constituency over the last 7 years and I hope that I can count on their support on Thursday so that I can be the voice they need in Westminster.”
Labour won 232 seats in the 2015 general election while the Conservatives achieved a majority of 331. However, they achieved just 6% less of the total voting share than the Tories, losing out on gaining seats due to the first past the post voting system. In Scotland, the party held onto just 1 seat, losing 40 others to the SNP.
This election they are hoping to gain back some of these Scottish seats and have focused their campaigning south of the border on the Midlands and Remain-backing seats currently held by the Conservatives.
Image: Andy Miah