By: Tom Chapman, I'm a Young Labour activist and Vice-Chair of the Cotswolds Constituency Labour Party, feel free to follow on Twitter: @tomchapman65
There's no way around it: this EU referendum puts a lot at stake, for all us. However, as a young person, I fear the younger generation has the most to lose from a vote for Brexit.
Young people have been some of the greatest beneficiaries of visa-free travel around Europe, being the most mobile generation in history, and are also, according to a study, most likely to see European free movement as two-way street; the opportunity to live, study and work abroad is one highly valued by a great many young people.
Moreover, European integration has enriched centres of learning for young people in many ways; foreign students in all layers of our education system have brought a great level of multiculturalism to our generation, and migrants teaching in our schools and universities have been proven invaluable. This is in addition to the almost £1 billion in finding UK universities receive from the EU, and, as noted by Stephen Hawking and other scientists recently, UK science relies heavily on Europe both for funding and international coordination; Brexit would undermine the STEM jobs that are essential to our generation's future economy.
This, of course, avoids the real issue that ordinary young people depend on the most: jobs, and the cost of living. Treasury estimates suggest over 3 million jobs are linked with European trade, and over 200,000 UK businesses benefit directly from free trade with Europe. Given that youth unemployment stands at 13.7%, a drop in the jobs market would be devastating for young people. To top this off, Brexit would cost the average family £450 a year in increased living costs, which for young people is especially unaffordable.
It is clear that these issues impact people in all corners of Britain, but we as young people could feel the sting the heaviest. There's no greater duty in politics than protecting the future, and it's time for us as a nation to stand up and defend the next generation for the good of everyone by voting to remain.
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