Liberal Youth welcomes the news that UCAS is reporting an increase in university applications, and especially welcomes the continuing trend of young people from poorer background going to university more. With people from disadvantaged backgrounds being 80% more likely to attend a higher education institution this is a major step in creating a fairer and more liberal society.
“The news that university applications have increased is truly fantastic. That the young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are increasingly going to university.
Liberal Youth believe no matter where you come from you should have the freedom to achieve in life and often university is a gateway to achievement.
We now need to push for a more progressive maintenance loan system to ensure students can afford rising rent and living costs bills. That way we can continue to remove barriers to higher education.”
The increase in applications can be seen as a testament to the work of Liberal Democrats in government to creating a creating a fairer and more equal society and in improving the systems that were left by the previous Labour administration.
The Liberal Democrat changes to tuition fees are a vast improvement on the old Labour system. The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the poorest 29% of students were better off under the new system and that it was “ substantially more progressive” than the old Labour system as the richest students were likely to pay back ten times as much as the poorest students.
Members of London Liberal Youth, and Liberals across London would like to use this opportunity to express our support and solidarity for members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot.
In the wake of verdict finding them guilty of “Hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” we stand together with thousands of protesters across the world decrying this violation of the most basic human right of freedom of expression.
To follow updates on the trial, verdict and global reaction check out the following links:
Liberal Youth’s solidarity campaign to highlight human rights abuses taking place in Belarus – Europe’s Last Dictatorship: #BearsforBelarus
Alexender Lukashenka, President of Belarus, is known as ‘Europe’s last dictator’. Lukashenka has now turned his authoritarian regime on soft toys.
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have had a tough time over tuition fees, so it must’ve been some consolation when he stood the dispatch box this afternoon and declared:
“On the all important issue – the number of applications to university – in the recent UCAS figures… the proportion of English school leavers applying to university is in fact the second highest on record.“
Not only this, but:
“The percentage of 18yr olds from disadvantaged areas applying to university – according to the figures we’ve seen overnight – is higher than at any time under the Labour government.“
With the arrogance and deception that serves only to show the worst side of politics, traditional ‘partners in crime’ the Conservatives and The Sun newspaper have attacked the Liberal Democrats with allegations of homophobia.
Given their recent loss – by just 23 votes – in the Grove Ward, Kingston by-election the Conservatives have lashed out at the winning Liberal Democrat campaign, picking up on a piece of literature claiming “It’s always a straight fight here in Grove ward.”
With a Labour vote lagging behind at just 21% compared with 33% to the Tories, and 34% to the Lib Dems, it is not hard to see why it was described as a straight choice – as we’ve said so many times before “Labour can’t win here”
But for the Conservative party to attack Liberals for being homophobic goes beyond satire: the debate on equal marriage is on the cards because in 2010 we voted for it to become official Liberal Democrat party policy (I was there and spoke in the debate!). It is being implemented because we have a Liberal Democrat equalities minister in the brilliant Lynne Featherstone driving it through. It seems excessive to point out that so many of our activists in London and across the country are from LGBT backgrounds, especially given that as Liberals one of our core beliefs is the fundamental equal moral worth of every individual.
So Conservative Future have a choice (and to a lesser extent The Sun): make a positive, constructive contribution to the political debate – challenge the prejudice of the Church of England who claimed it was “one of the worst threats in 500 years”. Challenge the prejudice of homophobic elements of the Conservative Party, but don’t stoop so low as to spin a story out of nothing and attack the party of equal rights.
London Liberal Youth would like to express our support for the report “Fair and Square” by the Children’s Society, emphasizing the absolute importance of children from all backgrounds – but especially those living in poverty – to be well fed, and the crucial role the Free School Meals program plays in delivering this.
We recognize and share the concerns raised in the report that the introduction of Universal Credit next year could potentially endanger the scope and delivery of Free School Meals, and want to play our part in making sure this does not happen.
Whilst we broadly support the coalition government’s attempts to simplify the benefits system, and cut administration costs with the introduction of a Universal Credit, Liberal Democrats are collectively anxious at the announcement of a further £10bn of welfare cuts announced in the budget, and as was reported in yesterday’s Guardian we are seeking to find these savings elsewhere as much as is possible.
We certainly do not want to see these cuts fall on children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, and programs like Free School Meals. As such we will be lobbying our MPs and Ministers within the party, as well as joining with the Children’s Society and others to secure funding and political support for the continued delivery of the Free School Meals program.
Please consider signing and sharing their petition here.