22/05/2017 08:09 BST | Updated 22/05/2017 08:11 BST

Labour's Message Of Hope Gives Young People Something To Register And Vote For

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In a major policy announcement today, Labour has announced how we will lift £38billion debt burden from students' shoulders.

Under the Tories, tuition fees have trebled to over £9,000 a year since 2012 and graduates are being held back by starting their working lives saddled with debts averaging almost £45,000.

Under our plans this will be reduced by an average of more £27,000 for students who don't qualify for a maintenance grant, and to zero for students who do.

Furthermore, students who have already graduated will be protected from above inflation interest rate rises on existing debt.

Not only will tuition fees be abolished under a Labour Government from 2018, we will also write off the first year of fees for students planning to start university this September.

As part of our commitment to a Britain for the many not the few, it will be paid for by increasing income tax for the top 5% of earners and reversing the Conservatives' cuts to corporation tax.

This is a policy that is good for our society and economy. Students will benefit from having more money in their pockets, and we will all benefit from the engineers, doctors, teachers and scientists that our universities produce.

After the Liberal Democrats betrayed the hopes of so many students in 2010 by entering a coalition with the Tories which then increased tuition fees, Labour is seeking to restore the principle that no one should be put off from getting an education through a lack of money or fear of debt.

Since 2010, the Conservatives have attacked young people over and over again by increasing debt, exclusion from the "living wage", cutting housing benefit and scrapping Educational Maintenance Allowance.

Too many are facing extortionate rents, huge university debts, and being exploited at work by low wages and insecure contracts.

Labour believes that things don't have to be this way, that we can do better and we can restore people's faith in politics after the vicious cuts and broken promises of recent years.

In contrast to the Liberal Democrats and Tories who have betrayed young people again and again, Labour's support for free education is just one part of our programme to give young people real control over their futures, and I am seeing on the doorstep how we are starting to restore belief amongst students and young people that politics can make a difference and change.

As well as abolishing university tuition fees, Labour will restore the maintenance grants the Conservatives abolished in 2016 and, under its transformative plan for a free National Education Service, will scrap college fees for adult learners.

Our four further key pledges to young people are as follows:

- A Real Living Wage of £10 an hour by 2020 for all over 18s, ending the discrimination that leaves so many young workers in economic difficulties.

- Ban unpaid internships and zero hours contracts to end the exploitation of so many young people in the workplace.

- Bring back housing benefit for under-21s and introduce an inflation cap on rent rises that will stop skyrocketing rents that swallow up so much of people's incomes, so everyone can afford a decent home over their head.

- Lower the voting age to 16 to increase participation in our democracy.

These pledges will make sure the opportunities to stay in education, go to university, move out of the family home, and earn enough to live on are opportunities shared by the many, not the few."

The choice for young voters in this General Election is clear - but today we need a final push to ensure as many young people as possible use their voice in the General Election.

It is was welcome to read this weekend that tore than two million people have applied to register to vote in the month since Theresa May announced the General Election.

The number of young people registering is the highest of any age group within this - nearly 40% have been under-25s.

But there are still millions of people who are eligible to vote who have not registered, especially amongst under-34s and people who've moved home in the past year.

With our message of hope for young people we are giving people clear reasons to register to vote before tonight's midnight deadline and to vote Labour on 8 June.

Please spread the word on social media now about how people can register to vote and then spread the word about why Labour will give Britain's young people back control over their futures.

Visit here to register to vote before 11.59pm on Monday 22 May.

Cat Smith is the Labour candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood