Which Issues Will Students In Birmingham Be Voting For On 7 May?
The Debrief: From tuition fees to mental health, these are the issues students in Birmingham will be voting on next week...
We’ve arrived following a series of debates organised by BBC Newsbeat, The BBC Asian Network and the Guardian; the latter was held the day before and hosted by Rick Edwards. It seems the amount of political discussions and events have got students excited and engaged with the election. I’ve not even been on campus 15 minutes before I hear the phrase ‘Milibae’ and discussions of Ed Balls Day.
Here’s what the students had to say:
CHARLOTTE WHITCOMBE, 20, FROM ROMSLEY, SPORTS COACHING STUDENT
My key issue is university fees which are way too high. It’s ridiculous because we are never here, we don’t get much help and our lecturers are really unavailable email wise and stuff. I kind of wonder what we’re actually paying for especially when we have to buy all our sports kit ourselves and have had to pay a lot for our dissertation to be printed. Fees should just be reduced, three grand a year is fair enough. I compare it to my brother, he paid nine grand for three years and we’ve paid that for one, what more have we got out of it?
FARAH SAYED, 23, FROM TEXAS, USA, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS STUDENT
International students should have the opportunity to get worthwhile internships in Britain. Most international students are pretty focused and know what they want to do as there’s a lot of competition back at home. We’re quite specialised and know what we want to do so I think internships would be so beneficial for us as well as the UK as we’d actually be providing specialised services for the country. I would say the current immigration policies should be relaxed a bit especially for students.
NORA SELMANI, 19, FROM LONDON, ENGLISH LIT STUDENT
I think we need to be helping those who are in need, internationally too, as humanitarian aid is massively important. The Tories have cut things like disability benefits, we need to be helping those people out and then taxing the rich because they have enough money. If they were taxed 50% they’d still have enough money to survive whereas poverty is continuing to rise. There are about 400 food banks in the UK which is so much more than there used to be so that’s a massive issue. It’s about helping the vulnerable, that’s what matters to me the most.
KATIE PHILLIPPS, 20, FROM HIGH WYCOMBE, GEOGRAPHY STUDENT
Voter apathy of young people needs to be addressed as it’s such a big group of people to not have a voice. My parent’s generation get what they want, mostly because MPs are their age. There aren’t many MPs my age so it’s harder for them to relate to me; I think they need to reach out a bit more. There also should be more education for young people. The reason I’m interested in politics is because I did it for an A-Level but others don’t understand how the House of Commons or Lords work which makes it a lot harder for them to engage themselves with it.
VICTORIA DOUGLAS, 21, FROM CROYDON, CHILDHOOD CULTURE AND EDUCATION STUDENT
Housing is an issue for me. I’ve heard about first time buyers schemes but the ability to get a mortgage is going to become less and less. I think renting for the rest of my life is what is going to happen. Even with the new [proposed] schemes I don’t think it’s going to be easy. I saw Rick Edwards talk yesterday and he said: they [politicians] don’t focus enough on young people. If they got all young people to vote then there may be more of a focus on helping them out.
TRINITY SOKAN, 19, FROM SURREY, POLITICS STUDENT
I’m quite worried about finding a job after uni. There’s lots of graduates; it’s so competitive and I don’t know if there will be enough jobs for the type of degree I have. I’m not sure if the government will have enough jobs ready in two years time. I think there needs to be more jobs created in both the public and private sector. I’m quite interested as to where the next government will put their money to maintain a healthy economy
MARY BIRCH, 19, FROM ESSEX, POLITICS AND ECONOMICS STUDENT
One of my main voting issues is mental health. I think there needs to be more funding for it put in to the NHS. Mental health issues in young people, especially those at university, are a big problem, I don’t think there’s enough support at the moment so more support services need to be provided. There seems to be support available for kids and then adults but then not the young people in between. There wouldn’t be such a stigma surrounding it if politicians were to put more funding in as this would increase awareness.
MAIYA NOTTAGE, 18, FROM LONDON, PHILOSOPHY STUDENT
Tuition fees are too high because the amount of resources we get for £9,000 isn’t enough, for example the amount of contact hours. Most people may not pay it back by the time they’re 50 anyway so there’s not really much point in having them that high. The price also might be off-putting for those who want to go to university. I think fees should definitely be lowered; I’m not sure if abolishing them is realistic enough but it’s unfair on those who can’t go to uni as they don’t have parents who can give them more than the loans allow.
ELLIE LAWSON, 19, FROM LONDON, ECONOMICS AND POLITICS STUDENT
For me a big issue is that I want the UK to stay in the EU, I don’t want a referendum on our membership. I think leaving the EU would be really bad for Britain; so much of our trade is done with Europe and a lot of companies based here would leave the UK if we left. I’m also a big fan of immigration and in an ideal world I would have no restrictions on it.
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