Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester, Professor David Green, says young people must be listened to in the wake of the general election result.
Professor Green said that it was clear that the high turnout among young people and students had swung this election.
He continued: “There are a number of measures that can be taken over the next few weeks, which will command a significant majority of MPs in the new Parliament and which could be taken now.”
Early reports suggest turnout to vote among 18 to 24-year-olds in yesterday’s election was as high as 70 per cent, compared to 43 per cent in the 2015 general election. The most stunning election result was in Canterbury where University students queued to vote and clearly contributed to the election of Canterbury’s first Labour MP for 99 years.
“This is the election when the student and young people’s vote came of age,” said Professor Green.
“It was a very important election – students and young people want change and we should back them. They have spoken clearly and Parliament must listen.”
Professor Green proposes immediately restoring the bursary for nursing and midwifery students.
He said: “Evidence from around the country shows that there has been a dramatic drop in applications for nursing and midwifery since the imposition of the £9,250 fee which will apply to new students from September. The country needs more nurses and midwives. Places should be increased on these vital courses and the bursary restored immediately.”
Professor Green also proposed that no interest should be charged on students loans and that they should only index-linked to inflation – as was the system up until 2012 and that the threshold at which repayments start, which has been frozen for several years, should be lifted to £25,000 and then index-linked to inflation to help those young people who are just graduating and who have graduated in the last few years.
“The student loan interest rate will jump to a massive 6.1 per cent per annum this September – which is simply unfair,” said Professor Green.
“Students are deeply concerned to have opportunities to study for part of their course in other countries in Europe and around the world.
“Britain must commit now to remaining a member of the Erasmus programme, which does such invaluable work in helping UK students and promotes student exchange throughout Europe.
“All these things could be done without great expense and they would be a big help to young people who are graduating and studying and the whole of Britain will benefit in due course from their skilled dedicated work.”