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“Student vote has played key role” - NUS responds to election result

Friday 09-06-2017 - 08:51

This general election provided a momentous opportunity for students and young people to cast their vote and make sure their voices were heard. Youth turnout is reported to be high with students playing a crucial role in deciding the fate of key marginal seats.

NUS, along with students’ unions, have been running voter registration drives, candidate hustings and get the vote out initiatives in towns and countries across the UK, playing a huge role in getting over two million young people back on the electoral register after the process changed to individual registration in 2014.

Voter registration among 18-24-year-olds has been falling steadily since the seventies, however, the number of young voters leapt up by 20 per cent between the 2015 general election and the EU referendum.

750,000 more 18-year-olds - who were too young to have their say in the EU referendum - were able to vote yesterday, finally getting their voices heard on Brexit.

We have two clear demands from the government. We want to see international students defended, welcomed and supported in our universities and colleges, and we want investment in education.

International students make up a vibrant part of our communities. Both the impact of Brexit and regressive Home Office policies do not make the UK an attractive place to study for international students.

Over the past seven years funding for further and higher education has radically reduced. Young people are now leaving education with debt that will follow them into mid-life. Investing in education is an investment in society, it’s time we had policies and funding that recognised this.

NUS President Malia Bouattia has praised students’ unions who have “worked tirelessly to get the vote out amongst students and young people”.

Highlighting what students demand from the next government, she adds: “Students and young people want to see progressive and fair policies that will have a very real and positive impact on all our futures. We want a government that does everything in its power to welcome International students and keep our universities and colleges diverse and vibrant. Under the last seven years of Conservative rule, further and higher education funding has radically reduced and student debt now follows us into mid-life.

Responding to the impact of a reported high voter turnout rate on the final outcome, Malia said: “We have seen the student vote play a key role in marginal seats across the UK. The student vote yesterday was about more than tuition fees. Having worked closely with the nursing students at Sheffield Hallam University as they battled to save the NHS, Sheffield University students fighting cuts to education and college students demanding investment in education whilst also going through the area review process, it is unsurprising that they sent a strong message in this election not only to the Lib Dems because of their betrayal, but also to the Tories and their destructive policies of cuts and privatisation."

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