With stagnated job growth, low levels of house-building, soaring levels of student debt and a failing NHS, it's fair to say that my future doesn't look as prosperous as my 'baby boomer' grandparent's did in the 1970s. Yet sadly, many young people are determined that using their vote to out the Tories this Thursday would do little to affect their lives. Whilst many young people are planning to choose to abstain from voting this Thursday I, much like their former ally Russell Brand, am urging them to realise that a Labour government would significantly improve their life. A vote for Labour is a vote for a party which holds at its core a commitment to making the lives of the next generation better than the last.
When Labour founded the NHS in 1948, it was built upon one single principle, need not ability to pay. Since then the NHS has now become the bedrock of security for working and young people in our society. Despite this, 5 years of a Tory lead coalition committed to privatisation has taken its toll on the NHS. However, a Labour government would change everything. By repealing the health and social care bill and replacing it with a time to care fund, a Labour government would ensure there are adequate, nurses, doctors and GPs to run the NHS whilst ending the back door privatisation. An extra 1,000 places a year will be opened up to aspiring nurses and GPs by next year, where currently over 30,000 aspiring health care professionals are tuned away. Labour wants to put the NHS back where it belongs, in the hands of the British people, not into the pockets of big businesses.
However, it is not just the staffing of the NHS that Ed Miliband wishes to reorganise; as he states "mental health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age". Of the entirety of health spending, mental health receives around 1.36% with 3,640 fewer nurses and 213 doctors than there were only 2 years ago, despite a sharp increase in demand for treatment. A Labour government would give access to mental health treatment to the same priority as those awaiting treatment for a physical condition, radically improving the mental health provision, prioritising investment in CAHMS and training teachers to spot possible mental health problems. The current governments approach to mental health is outright dangerous; Labour is committed to challenging the neglect faced by mental health services.
In addition, it is not just mental health stigma that the Labour Party is committed to battling whilst in power. Both Tristan Hunt and Yvette Cooper have made radical announcements about the future of 'citizenship' education. Last year Hunt pledged to make "every classroom, dinner hall and playground a homophobic free zone" through age appropriate LGBT education and training for teachers on how to create a 'zero tolerance' environment when it comes to homophobia. Furthermore Yvette Cooper pledged to ensure that every secondary school student receives mandatory 'sex and relationships' education to give young men and women the knowledge and confidence to stand up to abusive relationships. With women between 16-19 being the most at risk of domestic violence and prosecutions for rape and domestic violence falling, despite reported crimes increasing significantly it is shocking that the Conservatives have relentlessly mocked and voted down this bill.
One issue which persistently is raised among young people is the lack of social mobility that is perceived to exist in Britain. It is clear that even in 21st century Britain, those that are born poor are more likely to stay poor. Young people and graduates in the UK are increasingly failing to find that break they desperately need to further their careers. However, Labour's Shadow minister for women and equalities, Gloria De Piero highlighted how this is no accident of talent, explaining how lack of social mobility is entrenched in recruitment processes as professionals tent to hire in their own image. Labour has made multiple commitments to promoting social mobility, including banning unpaid internships (which are unproportionately used by the privileged), forcing major companies to disclose their levels of social mobility and details of their difference in hourly pay between men and women, whilst also slashing tuition fees and committing to 25 hours free childcare for working women.
On May the 7th I am urging young people to vote Labour, don't let apathy allow the Conservatives an additional 5 years in government. Don't Let the Tories destroy your future by once again raising tuition fees, privatising the NHS and further preventing social mobility. Vote for a party committed to building affordable houses, slashing tuition fees, ensuring better education, promoting social mobility and saving our NHS from privatisation. Vote for a party which holds at its core a commitment to making the lives of the next generation better than the last.