The National Union of Students (NUS) have released their manifesto, ‘New Deal for the Next Generation’, ahead of the General Election next year. The content of the manifesto is split largely into three themes focusing upon education, work and community. Following the 2010 General Election which saw a transformation in the way UK tuition fees work, the 600 student unions which comprise the NUS are bent on ensuring their demands are met.
The manifesto clearly underlines its aims to create equal opportunities for education. Welcomed by many is the first point under the education section which states ‘We want government to phase out tuition fees and restore public funding to universities’. Other featured policies in the manifesto include a commitment to producing fair funding for postgraduate students, and a policy to ensure the government guarantees paid work or training for every person aged 16–24 who is out of work, which is ‘matched to their skills and interests’. Ahead of the election each Students’ Union will be able to choose policies from the list to create their own ‘New Deal’ manifesto to engage students on campus to campaign.
The release of the NUS manifesto comes after a recent NUS funded poll discovered that an impressive 73% of students are registered to vote in comparison to only two thirds in February of this year. This percentage is predicted to increase further due to the NUS voter registration drive later this year. The poll also revealed that 77% of students felt that politicians could not be trusted, and 83% believe that politicians should be held to account when they break their promises.
The President of the NUS, Toni Pearce, commented that ‘Nick Clegg’s broken tuition fee promise severely undermined trust in politicians, and saying sorry just isn’t good enough. It is perhaps little wonder that our polling suggests only five per cent of students would vote Liberal Democrat.’
For the first time, the NUS has created an online ‘General Election Hub’. This will allow students to compare the candidate in their home constituency with the candidate in their university constituency, in order to work out where their vote will make the strongest impact.