Student protest

At the end of last month, a survey found that Labour’s support among the under 25s has taken a serious hit. This has mostly been attributed to Labour’s Brexit position, and as a result students’ allegiance has shifted to pro-Remain parties, including the Greens. Despite currently having only one MP, a fifth of UK students say they’d vote Green. As co-chair of the Green Party’s youth wing the Young Greens – which encompasses all members who are under 30 or full time students, I take a look at why we’re the party for students.

1. The Greens want to scrap tuition fees and pay back any loans we’ve already taken out

This is a no-brainer for any political party claiming to be on the side of students. No other country in Europe has fees as high as ours for home students. A three year undergraduate degree costs just under £30,000 for a home student. That’s without even counting the 6% interest that starts from day one. The Green Party would slash this to zero and pay back existing student debt. We’d also reinstate maintenance grants so no one has to get into debt to pursue an education. The Green Party promises to pay for it with higher taxes on the rich and money saved on fossil fuel subsidies.

2. We want to keep freedom of movement

Those of us born in the UK were born with the amazing privilege of being able to travel, work, and live in the 28 EU member states. Want to get a job in Spain, live in Italy, or interrail around Eastern Europe, without needing a costly visa? Have at it. However, we are now seeing this right under threat from Brexiteers following a referendum that hardly any undergraduate students in the UK were old enough to vote in. The Green Party wants to keep Freedom of Movement for everybody, ensuring we don’t lose our right to explore the continent and broaden our opportunities.

3. The Greens want to save us money

Cash in your pocket – what more could we want? The Green Party have policies to make life cheaper and easier for young people, helping us earn more and spend less. It’s our policy to scrap the age-graded minimum wage where companies can get away with paying 18 years less than 21 year olds for exactly the same work. We would make all bus travel free for under 18s. The Green Party also want to introduce rent controls across the UK – which would stop landlords in student towns from hiking up our rent.

4. Tackling climate chaos is our top priority

This is a pretty obvious one for the Greens, and though climate change will affect all life on earth, young people with our whole lives ahead of us are going to be most affected. The Green Party recognises that there are no jobs and no future on a dead planet, so we oppose airport expansion and want to rapidly roll out renewable energy across Britain. We also supported the global Climate Strikes last week Friday, giving our support to students walking out of school to stand up for their futures.

From saving us money to saving our planet, the Greens are firmly on the side of students. We’re also home to some pretty cool people, such as the iconic Doc-Marten-wearing MEP Magid Magid and our co-leader Jonathan Bartley who’s a drummer in a blues band. A general election could be called any day now, so whether you’re won over by Caroline Lucas’s party or still deciding whether to give them the Green light, make sure you’re registered to vote now!

Header image credit: Socialist Appeal, Creative Commons