Green Party announces plans to scrap tuition fees and bring back grants
Today, the Green Party are announcing plans to bring back free education and give 16 year olds the vote – if they're elected. But is it enough to win young voters over?
Credit: Eloise Acuna – Flickr
The Greens have kicked off their campaign today for June’s general election by targeting young people with pledges that will appeal to student voters.
They’re making a promise to abolish university tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants for those from lower-income families – which the Conservatives recently scrapped.
Last year, Labour also pledged bring back grants and EMAs, but Greens have gone a step further in claiming they'll scrap tuition fees too.
Voter turnout has been notoriously low amongst students in previous elections, but the day after PM Theresa May announced a snap election last week, registration to vote soared amongst under 25s.
A whopping 58,000 people under the age of 25 registered to vote on the day the election was announced – more than any other age group!
What are the Greens promising?
In a nutshell, the Greens claim they'll make the following changes:
- Scrap tuition fees completely – The £9,000/year fee cap has only recently been removed, and unis have already started advertising higher fees for September 2017
- Bring back maintenance loans – The conservatives scrapped the maintenance loans for students from lower-income families and replaced them with higher loans
- Give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote – At the moment, you can only vote if your 18 or over (16 if you're voting in Scottish elections)
- Minimise the impact of Brexit on universities – They say they'll protect EU Erasmus programs and match any EU funding that universities receive with a UK equivalent.
Molly Scott Cato of the Greens has said the party are seeking to speak particularly to young people due to the “gulf that is opening up between young people and older generations”. She said:
The way young people are being let down is a disgrace. It’s hard to think of a time when the young have faced a bleaker future.
And how do they plan to pay for all this?
As always with political party grand plans, there’s the big question of who will pay for policies that would cost the country billions of pounds?
Primarily, the party say they plan to foot the costs for these new policies by introducing new taxes on the super wealthy, as well as scrapping current plans for expensive transport routes that will impact the environment.
The Greens are proposing a ‘Wealth tax’ that would see a very small minority of big earners in the UK paying an additional income tax if they earn more than £3 million a year. They say this will bring in £10bn in the first year.
They also have plans for another taxation they’ve dubbed the ‘Robin Hood tax’ (also called the Financial Transaction Tax or FTT), which involves a tax of 0.05% on transactions made by banks and hedge funds. This might sound like a tiny amount, but they’ve estimated it could bring in £5bn in the first year!
Scrapping transport expansion plans
It wouldn’t be a green party pledge if it didn’t involve protecting the environment, would it!
Another way they plan to pay for abolishing tuition fees is to scrap plans for the new runway at Heathrow airport in London (£17bn) as well as the high speed railway (known as HS2).
HS2 is set to connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester and is estimated to cost the government £66 billion.
Have the Greens won you over with these new pledges? Which party do you think best represents young people? Let us know in the comments below…