NUS condemns the Conservative Party manifesto: “No offer to alleviate the very real struggles faced by students and young people.”

NUS condemns the Conservative Party manifesto: “No offer to alleviate the very real struggles faced by students and young people.”

NUS is disappointed by the Conservative Party’s continued lurch to the right with the launch of their 2024 manifesto, which contains a range of measures that will do nothing to alleviate the struggles students face. Instead, the measures announced will compound student suffering, punish international students, and do little to solve the pressing problems we face. 

  • Cutting taxes while slashing spending will do nothing to help students, or fund education, and will damage the public services students rely on. As made clear by our Manifesto for the Future, NUS demands well-funded public services. 
  • Scrapping so-called ‘rip-off degrees’ is an insult to the students who work hard across our universities and colleges, and continues the failed marketisation of higher education, where the value of a degree is solely seen through the prism of graduate wages. We are concerned that this will shrink student choice, and devalue the many degrees which lead to less well paid work in public services.  
  • Amending the Equality Act to specify biological sex is part of a cruel and divisive culture war, and will add to the prejudice trans people already face. 
  • increasing visa fees will punish international students who contribute to our education system and society. As will forcing them to pay an increased Immigration Health Surcharge or take out private health insurance. These measures and the demeaning requirement of a health check for migrants will only harden the hostile environment.  
  • The Conservatives are right to see the value in apprenticeships, but they should not be pitted against higher education. Current apprentice pay levels are unfit for purpose: the £6.40 minimum wage for apprentices stops people from poorer backgrounds from accessing them.  
  • We welcome the pledge to offer bonuses of up to £30k for teachers in key areas over the next five years, including in FE colleges. Further Education has long been underfunded and this would reward hard-working and talented teaching staff. 
  •  We welcome the commitment to a lifelong learning entitlement and believe the introduction of an Advanced British Standard, which broadens education and removes the artificial divide between academic and technical learning has merit if delivered well, and believe that student partnership should be integral to its delivery. 

 

NUS UK Vice President for Liberation and Equality, Nehaal Bajwa, said: 

“Students right now are left with 50p per week to live on after rent and bills. The Conservative Party hasn’t offered anything in this manifesto to alleviate the very real struggles faced by students or learners. Instead of a meaningful offer for students and young people, we’re threatened with course cuts, conscription and crackdowns on our rights to protest. 

If the Conservatives were serious about the future of the UK, they would have offered a convincing set of ideas for students and young people.”

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