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Margery Thorogood, Press Officer for Windsor Constituency Labour Party, reports on young people and their futures. She believes that “The future for young people might be described as potentially bleak. As a young person myself once, I can recall a time when there was a growing economy and jobs were plentiful with full employment being a government policy. Job contracts were generally secure with terms and conditions of service in place as a result of trade union bargaining and negotiation. Young people were able to go to college, funded by taxation and able to study without the fear of a future of debt. Council housing was then the norm for many people and in the private sector, there were rent controls and ways of challenging unscrupulous landlords. And then from the mid-seventies, it all changed… and has never really recovered.’’

She has talked to 3 young people recently, all members of the Labour Party, where she has been informed at first hand about the depth of change that has occurred and which has impacted on the lives of a future generation. She states “What they say is disturbing.”

Take Patrick Green, living in Windsor aged 16. He reports his experience of canvassing in the local by-election. He says “One issue that came up regularly on the doorstep in the recent Clewer North by-election was lack of housing. Many parents were talking about how their children could not afford to move out due to stagnant wages and soaring house prices. One particular case was a man saying how his daughter who is in her 30s works as a nursery nurse and has had her pay rises capped by the council and therefore cannot afford to move out.”

Then consider the experience and thoughts of Celeste Denyer, aged 18 and from Dedworth. She believes that “The issues which young people in today’s society face, be they economic, health, or education-related, are ever-increasing.

Michael Gove’s exam-orientated specification is making it harder for young people to achieve. National funding cuts in education have seen struggles for resources increase, and arts subjects, across many schools, scrapped. Students are often required to buy their own textbooks – yet EMA has been abolished, making it difficult for economically deprived students to do so. Tuition fees have increased; tuition fee loans have been privatised (meaning greater interest and no cap on payment time) and maintenance grants are lower than ever. 

The country is lacking in jobs for young people, with those available predominantly offering zero-hour contracts (e.g. Legoland), which, while regarded by some as ‘flexible’, provide no consistent or reliable income. Street homelessness amongst young people has risen 40% since 2011 and child poverty is at its highest level since 2010, yet the Conservative government has scrapped housing benefit for 18-21 year olds and propaganda in the media brands the welfare state ‘unnecessary’.

One in ten young people suffer from a mental health condition and, since 2009, A&E departments have seen double the amount of young people arriving with psychiatric problems. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in the UK. However, mental health services have been cut by, annually, £538 million.

Speaking as a young person, I seek a compassionate and empathetic government which is aware of, and wants to combat, the inequality and hardship prevalent amongst young people today. The Labour Party fulfils this. Just some of Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity proposals include free nutritious school meals for every child, the eradication of tuition fees, greater funding for mental health, halting the growth of the grammar school system and a good quality comprehensive education for all.

The Labour Party’s ethos demonstrates an understanding that prosperity amongst young people cannot co-exist with inequality. The by-election results across the country suggest many favour Theresa May and her promise to create a ‘strong and stable’ Britain, but young people must ask themselves: ‘strong and stable’ for whom?”

Lastly Dean Inwood, aged 23 from Ascot, stresses the need to vote and in the forthcoming General Election. He reports that “Yes this is another article trying to get you to vote. We are a key demographic yet we seem to be the most apathetic among voters. ‘Oh well what will be, will be’ or more famously ‘My vote doesn’t count’ are often heard. Well as we have found with Brexit, our votes do count and our opinions are worth voicing.

If we are unhappy with the way things are, then we need to change them. A Conservative MP has represented Windsor for a long time, what is he doing for us? As young people we, however cheesy, are the future. The next five years will determine a lot for us. If you are 18, you now have the chance to vote. However, in five years’ time, you will have finished university, finished an apprenticeship, started a job or be seeking employment.

Whether you go to university or are working, you will be hit by rising tuition fees or a minimum wage that doesn’t match the cost of living. We have been dealt a hand by our parents and their parents that means unless they have tons of money, we will probably not own a house or even a flat, especially in the Windsor constituency.

These are important years of your life and not being bothered to vote now will mean that you chose the outcome by not being part of it.

We need to help, and shape the country’s future. We need to vote for who has our interests at heart. In my opinion that is Labour. You, however, may disagree but voting for someone who wants to better the lives of everyday people is important to me. If we carry on as we are, the rich will get richer and everyone else will be forgotten.”

Margery Thorogood reports that “Membership of young people (aged 27 and under) in the Windsor Constituency Labour Party has grown tenfold in the last two years; 90 per cent of the current membership joined since the last Tory win in 2015 and the vast majority of those since Jeremy Corbyn was elected. Young people are looking for a party which is genuinely on their side. It is the responsibility of government to act in the interests of everyone which includes young people whose futures are at stake. Windsor Constituency Labour Party urges everyone to ‘Vote Labour for the many not the few.”


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