The general election was called earlier this week, and shall fall on May 6th. Already being described as the ‘most important election for a generation,’ May 6th will undoubtedly produce a landmark outcome: either Labour will win a fourth consecutive term, or we shall have the youngest PM in over two centuries in David Cameron, or as many anticipate, we shall have a hung parliament and the Liberal Democrats will hold the key to power.
Students, many of whom will be voting for the first time will be targeted as key voters, and the three major parties have announced a number of policies aimed at luring students to the polling booths. The Conservatives, like all parties are promising more and more undergraduate university places, with Labour aiming to create 20, 000 alone, in the constant attempt to meet their 50% target of university educated young people. A target that Tories claim is unrealistic and will take over a century to meet. Further incentives come from the Tories who are promising bonuses to students for early repayment of loans, and the Liberal Democrats who promise to remove tuition fees within six years, something that the other two parties refuse to do. The Liberal Democrats argue that the heavy fees that students incur are putting young people immediately in danger of intense debt, and as a consequence failing to get onto the property ladder.
However, these policies are unlikely to affect this generation of students who already face high debt and a genuine struggle to enter the housing market, with only an abolishment of stamp duty becoming the real respite for first time buyers. Once again, the economy will surely become the driving issue for students and recent graduates who are looking to enter the workplace in the next couple of years in an economy shaken by a deep set recession.