By: Oliver Kendall, Student Voices Writer
We need a serious alternative to the austerity ideology of George Osborne. We cannot go on with huge cuts to departments. The government’s cuts to public spending are vicious assaults on our public services. We should be cracking down on the huge tax evading companies, and giving small tax breaks to Small & Medium Enterprises. There’s no doubt about the fact that we need to pay the deficit down, and get the national debt decreasing, but the way that this government is doing it just isn’t right. We need to invest in the clean energy solutions of the future, in housing, in Health & Social Care, and in education. We should keep our commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence. In addition to this, we need to get our economy growing by investing in the high-tech, high-skilled jobs of the future. We should raise the minimum wage to a living wage of £7.85 per hour and £9.15 in London, but we need to keep them in line with inflation. We also need to tackle the myth that too many doctors, teachers and sure starts caused Lehman Brother’s Bank in New York to crash.
I believe that we need to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, and also unpaid internships. We should give utility companies an ultimatum: provide better value or face competition from nationalised companies. I want a better railway system, and again, they should have that same ultimatum. They need to start providing part time workers’ season tickets. The minimum wage should be equal for anyone over 18 years old, not a youth rate for those between 21-25. We really need a credible strategy on business. We cannot allow them to cheat the system, but we can’t overregulate them. Of course they should be regulated, but we have to let them get on with being businesses. But the really fundamental thing is that they have to pay their taxes. The Google Tax Deal was absolutely ridiculous, it was derisory and quite frankly, it was offensive to the millions who pay the taxes they owe. They got away with paying a 3% rate of tax. The top rate of tax for normal people is 45%. What we need to do is give tax breaks to the Small and Medium sized enterprises to allow them to grow, create jobs and additional revenue into the economy. I believe Britain can become the Science & Technology capital of Europe. To do this, we need to turn our economy into the hi-tech economy of the future. But to do that, people need a good university level education and the truth is that too many aren’t getting that education because it is becoming too hard to reach. Be it from higher tuition fees, or scrapping the Student Maintenance Grants, it is simply impractical for many from less privileged backgrounds. In my opinion, we need to be helping young students get a university degree, but that isn’t enough. I think we need to commit at least 3% of our GDP to research in Science & Technology.
Benefits should never be a way to subsidise low pay. But the reality is that sometimes, it is better financially for families to be on benefits instead of being in work. I feel that the government should ensure that work always pays.
When people are unemployed, it is an understandably tough time for them and their families, so we do need to provide them with support. But this government are trying to take away the support. They tried to do it in the cuts to working tax credits, which would’ve hit families where at least one person works. They will try and do it with the benefits system, which does need reforms. We need to help them back into work. I think that for the first six months, they should be looking for work, and applying for as many jobs as possible. After that period, they should start doing any community work they can, like litter picking, renovating their communities and helping the elderly, until they find a job. As they are not in work, they will not be entitled to free childcare, but they should be given free childcare for any time that they have a job interview. This would be a fairer way of dealing with unemployment. Personally, my view is that people who work hard should never be struggling to make ends meet. Everyone in this country deserves a decent life, and opportunities to succeed, but too many don’t receive this, and instead end up in poverty.
I want to see a revolution in family support, and see sure start centres revived. We should look to introduce a Scandinavian Style universal childcare system, which would benefit everyone in society - The children and the adults. The children would have the benefit of interacting with peers their age, and adults would have more free time on their hands, where they could either be in work, or looking for work. We should do it, for childcare is one of the essential building blocks of society, and a strong, modern economy. We really need to eradicate Child Poverty in our lifetimes, for it holds too many back. It stops people from achieving their full potential in life.
Education is one of the foundations of our society, and our economy. Education provides our children with infinite opportunities, to go on and fulfil their potential, and strengthening our economy. We have to ease the pressure on our teachers. They are the people who work hard to provide us with a great education and the best opportunities in life. Yet, the government don’t pay them enough for what they do, because no, they don’t just work between 08:45 – 15:00, they nearly work all day, all week.
I support a ‘graduate tax’ for students who graduate from university. I don’t believe that asking the lowest paid in society to fund our university tuition. Picture a cleaner on a low wage, they will likely not go to university in the rest of their lives, they could be on the same low wage for the rest of their lives, but they are in part funding our university education. Instead, I support a ‘Graduate Tax’, a tax paid only by those who graduate from university. This tax should only be paid by the graduates once they are earning a minimum of £23,000 per year. I think education should receive more central government funding, allowing all schools to improve their facilities and their equipment.
I believe our government needs to bring in compulsory, age appropriate Sexual & Relationships education into our schools, teaching zero-tolerance to violence or pressure in relationships. I believe that compulsory Sexual & Relationships education would be useful in helping to tackle teenage pregnancy rates and the amount of people of all ages contacting STIs.
In the UK, 64% of the children in poverty live in a household where at least one parent is in work. In my view, this is a terrible reflection on our society.
In Stoke North, more than a third of kids live in poverty. One third of the people in my school are likely to live in poverty. Nationally, 28% of our kids live in poverty. Two thirds of them live in a family where at least one person works. 3.7 million Children is too many, no child should ever be forced to live in poverty. In a classroom of thirty, nine of those will probably live in poverty, six of those in poverty will have at least one parent who works. I think that this is a disgrace. Not least because the effects of poverty are long lasting on peoples’ lives. By GCSEs, there is a 28% gap between children receiving Free School Meals and their peers in terms of achieving at least 5 A*-C grades. Child poverty was reduced dramatically between 1998 and 2011, but since then, they have not just flat lined, but the amount of children in absolute poverty has increased by 500,000 since 2010. As a direct result of the tax & benefit decisions made since 2010, the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) have predicted that a further 700,000 children will be dragged into poverty. That means that by 2020, 4.3 Million children could be in poverty, up from the current 3.6 million. Another deeply saddening statistic is that work doesn’t provide a direct route out of poverty. In the UK, 64% of the children in poverty live in a household where at least one parent is in work. In my view, this is a terrible reflection on our society.
To tackle social inequality, we need to start from birth. We must work to give every child the best start in life. This goes back to childcare. To give every child the best start, we have to provide them with the best opportunities, sending them to nursery so they can be around other kids their age. But it doesn’t just stop there, we have to then provide them with places to go in their older years 9-18, we have to make sure they have extra support, so if they want to talk about something with someone who isn’t a relative, they can. All of this would go together to create the best society we can have. Not just in our area, but everywhere in our country.
My MP, Ruth Smeeth MP – Stoke-on-Trent North & Kidsgrove, spoke on ITV Central last year about poverty in her constituency. A girl at Excel Academy, a school just a few minutes away from my front door, had collapsed. When she regained consciousness, she told the staff that she was starving, and hadn’t eaten in days. She was given a sandwich and an apple. She quickly ate the sandwich and put the apple in her bag. She was asked why she put it in her bag – it was because her brother was in a classroom just down the hall, and he too hadn’t eaten for days.
To me this shows the urgency of the issue. Poverty is on our doorstep. These incidents happen throughout our city all too often. We have to act now before it happens again.
The European Union:
We need to be an outwards looking, internationalist country. At some point this summer we will face a referendum on our membership of the European Union. Personally, I am in favour of us staying in the European Union, for our economic growth, for our national security, and for our place in the world. However, I accept that the EU needs reform. I want to see a fairer immigration strategy. I also want to see a coordinated strategy to deal with the refugee crisis. We need to allow more refugees into the country, whilst protecting ourselves. Ensuring all of the refugees are in genuine need of our help, and ensuring they are not a threat to our security. I believe the reforms need to be going on before, during and after the referendum. For example, I believe that we need to put restrictions on benefits and social housing for EU migrants.
I think that we should renew the Trident Nuclear Submarines as it is the best option for our security. It is essential that we have these defences in the world we live in. Whether it be the threat from ISIL Daesh, or North Korea. We have to keep our nuclear defences to protect us from these imminent threats. I look forward to a day where we can all disarm multilaterally (every country together), but we should unilaterally disarm, as threats will see our weakness and use it to their advantage and our disadvantage. We need to remain in the EU and NATO to maintain our strong position globally. In addition to this, I believe that we should be spending 2% of GDP on defence.
- Stronger controls at our borders
- Stronger action against exploitation
- Stand up to extremism
- Fairness, security and justice for all
- More police on the beat
- Justice for those whose voices aren’t heard
- More help for victims of crime to stay safe
I am a supporter of freedom to move within the UK, but freedom to move doesn’t mean freedom to claim benefits - EU migrants should have to wait at least two years
People who worry about immigration aren’t racist. Those who choose to use immigration to incite hatred against an ethnic group or religion are. I believe immigration needs to be controlled. We need to slow down immigration from within the EU, and everywhere else. Our country cannot support the current level of immigration for much longer. I believe everyone deserves a decent house to live in. But we can only build so many houses. Similarly, we can only build so many schools and hospitals and train so many teachers, doctors and nurses. I am a supporter of freedom to move within the UK, but freedom to move doesn’t mean freedom to claim benefits - EU migrants should have to wait at least two years before claiming benefits. However, we can’t let it be a race to the bottom among other EU countries. Anyone who comes to this country from abroad should come here to work, not claim and to abide by our laws. We need to make it easier to deport any EU foreign national who breaks the law whilst in the UK. In addition to this, we need stronger controls at our borders.
I think that our government should end indefinite detention in the asylum & immigration system, as it is deeply scarring for detainees and would bring the UK in line with most other Western countries.
In the UK, the police have faced budget cuts, meaning frontline police officers have been forced out of the profession. What we need is less back-room staff and more frontline police officers. No more Police & Crime Commissioners and more frontline policing. In 2013, the Home Office spent £75 million on elections, where 7 out of 8 voters stayed at home. We could abolish Police & Crime Commissioners and provide extra frontline police officers to protect our communities and neighbourhoods. The Home Office says that crime is falling, so we need less police officers. I say crime is changing, and we need police officers more than ever. We can only keep communities safe if we stand together with them, but we can only stand together with them if we face up to the problems that are pulling us apart.
I think that the government should fund local refuges for people fleeing domestic violence & abuse.
This is a real example of exploitation in work:
Eastern European migrants were bought to the UK by a criminal gang to work, they consented to that work, but were horribly mistreated. They were made to sleep on bug ridden mattresses, six in a room. They had their wages stolen. If they dared to complain, dogs were set on them. They were held in a transit van for five days at a time. When the police tried to stop it, they couldn’t prosecute the gangs because they were here legally, they had consented to work, so there was no crime. These people were treated like animals, they were exploited by employers, just to undercut other jobs and wages. Responsible businesses were undermined. Yet, it’s not a crime. This isn’t the Britain I believe in. This is modern slavery.
Prevention is always better than treatment. Which is why we have to prevent violence in teenage relationships, through age appropriate education. Education them about the risks of the internet. Tackling homophobic bullying, and teaching zero-tolerance of violence to our young people.
The government are demonising people on benefits. They have described some of the most desperate people, those fleeing ISIL Daesh in Syria, a swarm – a bunch of migrants. They dismiss the Islamic community for ‘condoning terrorism’ in their own words. Well, we will never, ever let them do that again!
On housing, I believe that we need to build more affordable homes, to address the urgent housing crisis in Britain. I believe that we need to build at least 250,000 homes per year. I also support eco-towns and garden cities. Rent needs to be controlled, especially in the most expensive places, like London. I believe that we can get affordable, decent housing for all in the near future.
we need to build more affordable homes, to address the urgent housing crisis in Britain
- Provide decent, free care and support for all in their times of weakness
- Tackle low pay in the care sector
- Enable families to choose their own carer
- Close Assessment & Treatment units
- Combine Health and Care system
- Improve Mental Health services
I think that it is very important to provide good care, free at the point of delivery, to everyone. Regardless of their wealth, power or social class, everyone should be entitled to decent care without losing everything they have worked for, or putting the burden on their families. It’s simply not right. To help this, we should tackle low pay within the care sector, encouraging more people to enter the profession without feeling that they won’t be able to earn a decent living. Enabling families to choose their own carer would be a great step forward. By closing Assessment & Treatment units, which house people with learning disabilities or challenging behaviour, we are helping to end the monstrous treatment we have previously seen and ensure an improved standard of care.
Mental health is a huge issue today, with a quarter of us likely to experience a mental health problem in our lives, it is time to take action. We have to start by investing in our mental health services, for the current level of investment
I’m so proud of the hugely multi-cultural and diverse society we have in the UK. All on the same street, people of different nationalities, races and walks of life, all mixing together as one. We cannot let this be put at risk. I love the fact that as I walk down the street, everyone’s different. Some people and organisations would let this go in an instant. I believe in a country where we can all be together. I hate inequality, I love equality. We are all humans, we all breathe air, drink water and at the end of our lives, we all die. Why we allow ourselves to be divided by things that we can’t control, like our skin colour, our gender and our physical abilities, is totally beyond me. Politics should be more representative, there should be more Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender MPs, more MPs from Black and Minority Ethnic Groups and crucially, more female MPs. UKYP’s national campaign is based on tackling racism and religious discrimination, and it is something I have always believed in, because racism is deeply divisive and has no place in Modern Britain.
We need more politicians from all walks of life. We can’t just have older men making our laws. In our history, there has only ever been one female Prime Minister. There has only ever been one leader of a major political party in the UK Government. But, when you look to Scotland, it is very different. Their First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party is female, Nicola Sturgeon. The leader of the opposition & Scottish Labour Leader is Kezia Dugdale, another female MSP. The leader of the Scottish Tories is Ruth Davidson. In Wales, the leaders of both Plaid Cymru and The Welsh Liberal Democrats are female. In the UK Parliament, only 191 of 650 MPs are female. The leaders of The Conservative Party (David Cameron), The Labour Party (Jeremy Corbyn), The Scottish National Party (Angus Robertson), The Liberal Democrats (Tim Farron), UKIP (Nigel Farage/Douglas Carswell), and many others are all men. Although, it is worth pointing out that the Shadow Cabinet has a majority of women. The only party with a female leader is The Green Party, whose only MP is Caroline Lucas, and their leader is Natalie Bennett. My point is that we need to make politics more representative of the people who elect them. The current system just isn’t good enough. I am very proud that my constituency, Stoke-on-Trent North, is represented by a female MP, Ruth Smeeth – of the Labour Party.
So why not join me in making Britain Great Again?
Labour & Co-operative Member, Anti Fascism, Anti Homophobia, Backing the Stronger In Camp, Member of Progress, Avid learner of French, Spanish & German, Almost understands US Politics, Hillary lover/enthusiast.
"My Plan to Make Britain Great Again" Reviewed by Student Voices on 16:08 Rating: