Tag Archives: young people

A masterclass for young people interested in politics

This caught our eye on Twitter. It looks like a fabulous opportunity for young people who are interested in politics to learn about political leadership skills.

There’s more information on the Patchwork website.

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Vince: Don’t let older generations impose their prejudices on young people

Vince did an interview last week that I expect he enjoyed more than most. The interviewer wasn’t Eddie Mair, or Andrew Neil, but his grandson Ayrton. As an ambassador for the I Will campaign , which aims to engage young people in social action, he took the chance to interview his Grandad.

Vince has always been pretty robust about how the older generation has shafted young people. He talked about how important it is for young people to get involved, engaged and to get out and vote.

Watch the video here:

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Five bigger problems for young people than tuition fees

I don’t think anyone could deny that young people are getting a raw deal. But every time the conversation turns to young people, the go-to issue is tuition fees.

There are so many issues which have a much greater impact on young people than tuition fees, especially those from low-income backgrounds.

Here are 5 examples:

1. A lower minimum wage

The minimum wage of £7.83 per hour is far too low. But the rate is even lower for Under 25s. For 21-24 year olds it is £7.38, and for 18-20 year olds it is £5.90.

Maybe (at a push) you could justify a lower …

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Vince talks to Voice Part 2 – The message to young people – I’ve got your backs

Another snippet from my chat with Vince on Sunday.

He talked a lot about young people in his speech, showing that the Liberal Democrats have a lot to offer the younger generation who stand to lose so much from Brexit. I observed that he seemed to be saying to young people: “I’ve got your backs.”

Exactly. That partly reflects the new membership in the party – as you know it’s doubled and most of the new members are young and they came into a party that’s relatively old. But the average is now lower than the Labour Party and the Conservatives, which is good.

We see that as positive. I was very struck with the polling data that says that 25-30% of young people are considering voting for us and there’s a much bigger majority amongst young people and it’s reinforced whenever I go round universities. Despite that there are some tricky issues for us at universities as you know, actually the reception is very good, lots of people with an open mind.

I think the Brexit issue is probably number one on their list of priorities and we are the only party that’s giving them what they want and thinking about their future. I’d say that for many of those, things like climate change and environment are way up there and we are the only one of the major parties with a strong green message.

One of the other things that polling showed was that Remain vote has huge subset hasn’t yet forgiven us for the coalition. How do we get over that?

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What can we expect from Vince today?

Vince has a couple of jobs in his keynote speech today. First of all, he has to continue to stake our claim to be the Party that wants to stop Brexit. The Party is stepping up its anti-Brexit rhetoric. Tom Brake explicitly told Conference yesterday that Brexit was such a disaster for the Country that we would be doing all we could to ensure that people got a say on the final deal. Catherine Bearder MEP said that “the Emperor is stark naked.”

But that is only half the story. This Conference has made some key proposals on other issues that voters care about – dealing with the housing crisis by giving local authorities radical new powers to build more houses, reforming schools by replacing OFSTED and abolishing SATS to reduce stress to pupils and teachers. Today we’ll have some serious proposals to give the NHS the investment it needs. This is part of building a programme of policy that looks to tackle inequality and poverty in this country. Expect Vince to talk about that.

We can also expect him to really have a go at Labour. We’ve seen a it of that already at the Conference. Yesterday, Simon Hughes highlighted Labour’s huge failures on housing which let a whole generation of young people down. He’ll also highlight Corbyn’s complicity with the Tories on Brexit. 

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Lib Dems highlight plight of homeless young people

45000 people. It’s the size of a small town. It’s also the number of young people presenting as homeless to local authorities across the whole of Britain. The wonderful people in the Lib Dem research team have uncovered this in a series of freedom of information requests which revealed the number of 18-24 year olds who presented themselves to councils as homeless or at risk of homelessness, who were subsequently assessed under the Housing Act, and who were then accepted as statutorily homeless in the year to September 2017.

You can see a full breakdown of the figures here. Notable points include that four of the top five areas for young people being declared statutorily homeless are in Scotland where this is devolved to the Scottish Government.

This was sadly all too predictable as soon as George Osborne announced cuts to Housing Benefit for young people. He did this at the first chance he had, just after the 2015 election when he didn’t have Nick Clegg there to stop him any more. Vince Cable made the point about benefits cuts in his comments:

These figures reveal the hidden homelessness crisis affecting thousands of young people across the country.

It is a national scandal that so many youngsters are struggling to find a permanent place to call home.

Young people should be hopeful and looking to the future. Yet instead thousands will be spending this Christmas without a roof over their head, worrying about where they will sleep at night.

The situation is being made worse by the Government’s heartless decision to strip young people of housing benefit.

The government must reverse cuts to housing benefit for young people, invest more in preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place and build more genuinely affordable homes.

The utterly heartbreaking thing is that these figures don’t even include all the young people where a final decision was made, not the full number who applied and may have been turned down. 

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Christine Jardine MP writes…We are simply the temporary guardians of their future

‘No taxation without representation’ was the call to arms which shook Westminster to its very core, and drove the American Revolution.

And yet nearly 250 years later here we are again. In this country today 16 and 17 year olds can pay tax and national insurance, and yet they have no say, no representation in how that money they contribute to the public purse is spent.

They can also get married and join the armed forces, but they cannot vote and have no say in our society’s decisions on their future. Yet, nobody has provided a reasonable explanation as to why. There have been plenty of excuses but no explanations.

It frustrates me because I have witnessed first-hand what a difference it makes to our politics, and what a contrast there is when sixteen and seventeen year olds join the debate.

On the eve of the European elections in May 2014, I spent the evening with a group of my daughter’s friends.

It was her 16th birthday. They knew I was involved in both the European elections and the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum campaign and wanted to chat.

The conversations I had that night were some of the most enlightened, challenging and informed of the entire European or Independence referendum campaigns.

At one point, I noticed that even though there was a constant stream of questions a few of the people were also all on their phones.

I was on the brink of being disappointed, when I discovered that they were actually texting other friends who were sending back their own questions to ask.

Imagine that? Young people so desperately keen to understand and be involved in the democratic process.

All of them engaged, all of them informed, all of them keen to make a positive difference and yet none of them entitled to vote the next day.

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Improving Mental Health Services For Our Young People

On Monday 30th October I asked the Government what action they were taking to ensure that children and young people could access mental health services in a timely way. I have been campaigning to improve CAMHS and this was my latest attempt to put the Government on the spot.

The best that Lord O’Shaughnessy, the Lords Health Minister, could offer was that each year 70,000 more children will receive evidence-based mental health treatment. This is

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Why young people need to vote Liberal Democrat to have a say in their future

Conservative or Labour Governments would deny young people a say in their future when they will have to live with the consequences for longer. That’s the message from Tim Farron as the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto for young people is launched.

Young people voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the European Union and if allowed to vote in this election, 16-17 year olds would be influential in a number of battleground seats.

Tim said:

16- and 17-year-olds are a progressive force to be reckoned with and the Conservatives are determined to alienate this pro-European age group from the general election in order to secure a majority.

If 16-year-olds can pay taxes, marry and join the army, they are entitled to decide the future of our country too.

That’s why more Liberal Democrat MPs in Westminster are so important for Britain’s future. More Liberal Democrat MPs will stand up for young people, whether it’s on schools, on Brexit or on housing.

Stand up and make sure young people are represented in Parliament by voting for the Liberal Democrats this Thursday.

The  Young People’s Manifesto  includes a host of policies to give young people a brighter future, including:

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“I once led a protest against the Lib Dems. Now I’ll be voting for them”

There’s a super article in the Independent by Rahul Mansigani. In 2010, he led a protest against the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg over tuition fees. However, he is now a Lib Dem Newbie – because of Brexit:

as Eurosceptic Corbyn obstinately stayed put while his MPs deserted him, and as Theresa May declared that “if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere” and the Conservatives demanded that companies publish the numbers of “foreigners” they employed, I saw that the only party that would fight for our values and battle against a hard Brexit was the Liberal Democrats. Like thousands of others, I signed up.

He explains why this issue is so crucially important:

Brexit is the defining issue of this election and of our political generation. The way it is conducted will go to the heart of all the issues we protested about in 2010. Back then, the broadest aim of our protests was to give our young people the best chance of success in an open, prosperous, tolerant Britain. We must now support the Liberal Democrats to continue that wider campaign; a Tory Brexit undermines the existence of the Britain we believe in, not to mention the very existence of the UK.

The Lib Dems are and have always been proudly European, and (unlike the policy issue of tuition fees) this is fundamental to the party. Labour, despite its sudden clarity on scrapping tuition fees, remains hopelessly divided on its own vision of Brexit. The Liberal Democrats are the only party left to stand up for the 48 per cent, for the millions of voters, particularly the young, who voted to remain part of Europe, to be free to study in Paris or Berlin, to marry in Rome or Amsterdam and to work in Stockholm or Sofia.

He urges people to forgive the Lib Dems for mistakes like tuition fees:

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Eight Lib Dem policies to improve life for young people

The Liberal Democrat manifesto will be launched much later today. Ahead of that event, Tim Farron has a message for young people:

Imagine a brighter future. You don’t have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme version of Brexit that will wreck the future for you, your family, your schools and hospitals.

In the biggest fight for the future of our country in a generation, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has let you down by voting with Theresa May on Brexit – not against her.

The Liberal Democrats want you to have a choice over your future. You should have your say on the Brexit deal in a referendum. And if you don’t like the deal you should be able to reject it and choose to remain in Europe.

We want to give all our children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy. Not Theresa May’s cold, mean-spirited Britain.

A vote for the Liberal Democrats can change Britain’s future.

Here are eight policies which will make life easier for young people and help them to get on in life.

Rent to Own

The Liberal Democrats will help working people buy their first home for the same cost as renting, with a new model of ‘Rent to Own’ homes, where each monthly payment steadily buys you a share in the home, which you’ll own outright after 30 years, just like with a normal mortgage. This proposal is part of our plans to deliver 300,000 homes a year with government commissioning homes to fill the gap between private sector building and demand.

Restoring housing benefit for young people

The Liberal Democrats would restore Housing Benefit for 18-21 year-olds. Research by the Liberal Democrats has shown an estimated 18,000 young people will be potentially hit by the government’s decision to strip 18-21 year olds of housing benefit, which came into force in the beginning of April. Charities have warned the change could increase levels of homelessness amongst young people.

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What are YOU going to do to encourage young people to register to vote?

The Electoral Reform Society has highlighted a huge drop in the number of young people on the electoral register since individual electoral registration came in.

From the Independent:

The ERS, which campaigns on access to democracy, said while the move to IER had improved the accuracy of the register, it has also led to a “significant fall” in the number of young people on the electoral roll.

Of the nations which introduced IER in 2014, Scotland has seen the biggest drop in the number of “attainers” (16 and 17 year olds on the register), at 35 per cent, followed by Wales (27 per cent) and England (25 per cent).

In Northern Ireland, where the IER system has been in place since 2002, the number of those signed up to vote has fallen by half.

Latest analysis shows the number of attainers registered in Westmorland and Lonsdale, the constituency held by the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, to have dropped by three quarters (75 per cent) over three years.

People only have a week to register to vote. The deadline is 23:59 on 22 May.

Tim Farron and St Albans candidate Daisy Cooper have been encouraging young people to make sure that they have a say:

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LibLink: Cadan ap Tomos on the young and the voiceless in Wales

Cadan ap Tomos is the Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for young people, equalities and the Welsh language, and is a former adviser to Welsh Lib Dem Assembly Members. He has written a post for the Institute for Welsh Affairs with the title “The young and the voiceless?“.

He writes:

“Young people are the future.” An increasingly-used and well-meaning phrase that those in the political bubble will have heard more than once. Yet as well-meaning as it is, to an actual young person like me it’s one of the most irritating clichés of modern politics.

Condemning young people as merely the ‘future’ completely ignores the

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Engaging Young People in Politics

 

In the lead up to the EU Referendum young people were seen as the demographic that could decide whether the United Kingdom leaves or remains in the EU. There were all sorts of ideas to get young people to register, David Cameron was on tinder, “Register to vote” geo-filters were on Snapchat and even Facebook was notifying people of the registration deadline. On paper it seems like this would work, as a young person, I use all of those apps on my Smartphone. I was reminded of it constantly and I expect frequent users of either of these apps were too.

When the registration deadline was extended after the website crashed two hours before it was supposed to close, there were some rather vocal members of the Leave Campaign stating that it should have closed regardless and it was clear they were worried that a 48-hour extension could hinder the hopes of a Leave vote.

Where did it go wrong then? I was at University at the time of this and all my friends were registered. A recent study by Opinium has revealed 64% of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote which is the lowest out of the age groups, for example the same study found that 90% of over 65’s voted. Those 18-24 year olds who did vote, voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining however.

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Fighting for votes at 16

In light of the recent referendum result, as a Young Liberal, I have found this result  disheartening and frustrating. Joining the party at 16 and now being 17, I have not yet been able to exercise my voice and vote in any democratic election aside from the Liberal Democrat leadership election. This matter disappoints me and,  I’m sure,  many other politically passionate 16 and 17 year olds massively.

From a personal perspective I cannot help but feel that there is an enormous need for change to cater for this currently unheard voice in politics. I and many other young people have been active  in the political landscape since the day I joined the party yet feel angry that I am not allowed to exercise my passionate views through a vote.

Young people have shouted louder than ever on the issue of the European Union and I feel unsatisfied and discouraged that David Cameron declined me and other 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote on an issue that has shifted the tectonic plates of British politics more than any other issue in recent times.

It is clear that young people favoured Remain by a landslide yet they did not get the decision they wanted. It could be argued that this is down to a lack of a voice amongst young people, but also the lack of action to energise the base of young people in the United Kingdom and galvanise their opinion on the issues that will affect their everyday lives and also their future.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Europe is about more than the economy, it’s about opportunity

Catherine Bearder with Liberal Youth members October 2015At the official launch of the Stronger In Campaign on Monday it was great to see such a huge range of people, of all ages and from all walks of life, prepared to work together to secure Britain’s place in Europe. The board of the campaign represents all sections of society – students, the arts, business and trade unions – and almost half its members are women. This couldn’t contrast more with the male, pale and stale line-ups of the Vote Leave and Leave EU campaigns.

The challenge now for Stronger In will be to translate such a broad base of support into a coherent and positive message. We don’t just need to win over undecided voters, we need to make sure those who are broadly in favour of remaining in Europe turn up to cast their vote and play an active role in the campaign. Young people in particular are historically the least likely to vote, but the latest polls show 83% of them want to stay in the EU. They probably won’t get passionate about dry economic facts on the impact of Brexit on trade and investment. We need to develop a powerful and uplifting narrative about why Britain’s future in Europe matters to them and their everyday lives.

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Opinion: In defence of the Scottish Government’s plan for named persons for every child

I am writing this article after becoming increasingly frustrated at the tone and level of debate with which many people in our party are subjecting the Scottish Children and Young People’s bill and in particular the provision for a “named person” for every child.

Many of you will be asking what a “named person” is. If you choose to listen to the Daily Mail, the Christian institute and an assortment of other hysterical social conservatives this represents the introduction of state sponsored guardians whose mission in life is to spy on families and enforce political correctness. However I choose not to listen to these groups. I choose to listen to the countless social workers, teachers, child protections professionals, youth workers and other professionals who are backing this legislation.

What this legislation actually does is provide for a single point of contact for every young person from the ages of zero to eighteen so if ever that young person requires support from services or a welfare issue is raised by professionals, these organisations are operating in tandem rather than working in isolation. This will operate in a similar manner as health visitors supporting mothers and infants. For the vast majority of young people the named person will be a midwife then a health visitor followed by their primary school headteacher and finally their secondary guidance teacher.

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Opinion: Political education is essential to get young people into politics

Disengagement in politics is a growing concern, especially for my generation. Many claim they don’t know how the system works, who to vote for or don’t feel that their vote can make a difference. Thus, action needs to be taken to engage young people in politics and the as a Lib Dem member I am convinced that they are the right party for the job.

The problem stems from schools, there is a lack of political and economic education, which I feel should be made compulsory. No one told me what first-past-the post was or how the House of Lords works. My passion for politics provided me with the drive to learn and become engaged – so much so that I’m doing a degree in it! Undoubtedly, not everyone shares my passion, we all have differing interests, but that doesn’t mean that students shouldn’t be provided with political education. In Wales, learning Welsh is compulsory until 16, yet politics didn’t feature on my curriculum once during my time in school. Surely being educated in the political system that governs my country, is just as if not more important that learning a second language. Students should be made aware of the importance of voting, learn about how the economy works and the role both economics and politics play in their lives.

It is very easy to say that young people don’t care about politics, when the truth is that many don’t understand politics because no one cared enough to tell them about it. Not only this, it is often argued that politicians reward older generations for their votes with fuel allowances, whilst my generation seem to gain very little. This excludes young people further from the political sphere, as a lack of political education combined the feeling of disregard for young voices creates further disengagement. 

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A chance to take part in Channel 4/Shout Out Youth Leaders’ debate

We’ve been contacted by Shout Out, a news network for young people who are looking for audience members for a youth leaders’ debate they are holding a week on Tuesday, 28th April, at 8pm in Central London. It will be broadcast on All 4, Channel 4’s digital channel. Channel 4 News reporter Fatima Manji will chair the debate with representatives from the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SNP and UKIP. Alex Harding, the Chair of Liberal Youth, will be our representative. The leaders will field questions on issues that matter to young people from a studio audience, made up entirely from voters aged 18-25, some of whom will be visiting the ballot box for the first time.

Matteo Bergamini, the founder of Shout Out UK said:

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Opinion: A manifesto for young people

Young people are neglected by politics, and understandably so. With less than half of 18-24 year olds voting at the last election, few campaign strategists would advocate making serious commitments with relatively few votes up for grabs.

There has therefore been a temptation for all parties, the Liberal Democrats included, to save their eye catching commitments for older voters. Pensioners have both a high turnout and are generally more numerous than the young in the first place, are therefore rewarded with expensive policies such as the triple lock on pensions and free bus passes.

Nevertheless, to neglect younger voters would be a mistake, if for no other reason than we won’t be young forever. With the rest of our lives to vote, but also crucially to volunteer as activists, there is a lot at stake. Is it preferable to ignore us and hope to win us over from another party in later years, or to do something to earn our support in the present? And who knows, in presenting compelling, believable offers to young people, which take into account their views, then just maybe more will see the point in voting now.

And you know what? Our Liberal Democrat manifesto does just that.

Over the last couple of years the party has given Liberal Youth the chance to put forward our ideas and views into the manifesto process. The manifesto team and Federal Policy Committee have been genuinely willing to listen and the impact of this on the final document is significant.

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Nick Clegg announces £150 million to help young people with eating disorders

Nick, Ibrahim and Norman in Brent mental health visitYesterday, Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb visited a youth centre in Brent where they announced £150 million was being invested in services to help young people with eating disorders. From the BBC:

Mr Clegg will say he wants to see services transformed, with the focus shifted from expensive institutional care to targeted community-based provision.

Eating disorders cost the NHS around £200m a year, and the bill for in-patient care averages out at £98,750 per admission.

From 2012 to 2013, there were 2,560 hospital admissions for eating disorders in England – a rise of 8% on the previous year.

One in five of those taken into hospital with an eating disorder was admitted and discharged on the same day.

But one in 17 stayed in hospital for longer than six months.

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Berwick candidate Julie Pörksen seeks views on post-16 transport

Julie PorksenThe issue of transport so that over 16s can get to school and college is one close to Berwick Liberal Democrat PPC Julie Pörksen’s heart. She told us why earlier this Summer:

In the eighties, being a rural Northumbrian kid, I used to get the school bus to Ponteland, and just stayed on it for sixth form. Those wanting to go to college had to find their own way. Raising the age of participation and encouraging parity between a sixth form and a college education can only be a positive step for the opportunities and career and life choices for our young people.

If we are not to discriminate between 16-18 year olds in urban and rural areas across the whole country we must guarantee their rights to access free state education – and free transport is an integral part of that access.

So let’s be about action not just words – lets change the law and actually enable everyone to get on in life.

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Opinion: Beware false promises on apprenticeships

At the Conservative Party Conference George Osborne made the startling announcement that there was to be 3 million new apprentices. Just like that.

At first this seemed to be astonishing,  however” informed sources” tell me it is 3 million over the whole 2015 – 2020 period, in other words the story was being “spun”.

I served a traditional apprenticeship and found that eventually lead me indirectly to a higher degree in a Russell Group University, so apprenticeships are something I take continuing interest in.

With this I am inclined to ask the question, how many of these apprenticeship positions are actually new jobs as opposed to employers re branding pre-existing or extrapolated jobs as apprentices?

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Opinion: Intergenerational Fairness: Are we really building a fair future for our young people?

The challenges that young people face today are considerably different to what the previous generations faced. The baby boomers spent much of their lives enjoying a resilient and rewarding economy, with prospects of owning a house regarded as being the norm.

These days, as a young person, it’s not even a realistic goal, let alone normal. Between 2001 and 2011, house prices rose three times faster than wages. As a double whammy, we saw the recession hit wages and young people’s employment prospects particularly hard. Whilst unemployment is dropping, too many of us know young people settling for part-time work, …

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Opinion: Post 16 transport: It’s time to change the law to enable everyone to get on in life

Ear buds 'n' earsFor many 16 year olds across the country the post-exam, pre-result time in the summer should be a time of freedom, working a summer job to save some money or hanging out with friends and family, sure in the knowledge that come September they will be on track to take the next steps in life.

Northumberland’s young people are facing uncertainty this summer. The previous Liberal Democrat administration at County Hall had guaranteed the right of free post-16 transport to the most suitable accessible course. This has been taken …

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Opinion: Young people benefit from the EU. We need to persuade them to vote for the party of IN

Youth on the Move in Volos 20Each one of us who was glued to a screen or radio for the Nick vs Nigel EU debate last Wednesday will have our own opinion of who lost and who won as facts, rhetorical points and the affection of the audience were fought over. But I’ll tell you whose affection wasn’t fought over – that of Britain’s young people. And I, along with friends in and outside the party, was disappointed.

The lives of young people in this country – your children, your activists, you …

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Clegg acts to ensure opportunities for all young people

Nick Clegg is spending today announcing new initiatives to help young people with their career choices by improving career advice in schools, allowing job centre plus to give advice to 16 and 17 year olds and to improve opportunities for work experience.  There will be a UCAS style “one-stop shop” to help those young people.

From today’s Independent:

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will pledge to “end the snobbery surrounding vocational education” that limits the prospects of those who do not go to university, and promise them “an equal shot” by helping them to make the right choice after taking

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Nick Clegg and Vince Cable highlight Liberal Democrat achievements in higher education

When I went to speak in the St Andrew’s University debate last week, I did a bit of what I described as getting the tin opener and the worm can perilously close to each other, but pointed out that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds were twice as likely to go to university as they were 10 years ago. I also pointed out that those graduates on the lowest incomes would be paying much less than they were under Labour.

I was greatly assisted in preparing my remarks by Stephen Tall’s piece in January on the latest data in which …

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LibLink: Baroness Floella Benjamin: Positive role models can break cycle of despair

Baroness Floella Benjamin has written for the Voice website about what the government is doing to help young black people find jobs.

More than 30 million people are now in work and since the 2010 General Election, the number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits has fallen by 566,000. This is great news and my party, the Liberal Democrats, have worked hard in government to achieve success stories like these, listening to people’s concerns and ensuring the right support is being put in place.

But disappointingly there’s no denying that unemployment is still disproportionately high amongst young black people, especially men

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A Minister for Youth Affairs is needed to stop young people being driven out of rural life

Jane Dodds BridgeIn our part of the world, rural Powys, driving is often the only practical way to get around, especially for young people. The proposals this week to improve young driver safety could have a severe impact on the job prospects and lifestyles of young people in rural areas like ours.

Montgomeryshire in mid-Wales is the least densely populated county in England and Wales; 59.3% of us live in isolated, rural hamlets and isolated dwellings. Getting access to health, education, housing and jobs is a challenge for anyone living in a rural community like this. Add on to that the challenge of being a young person and the barriers mount up.

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