Another in our #GE2019 series. We approached all the candidates standing in South West Norfolk to ask them a series of questions.
We asked: Many young people in our area would say that there’s not enough for them, both in terms of support and also to keep them off the street. What would your response to those young people be?
Pallavi Devulapalli – Green Party
Young people need to be able to move about safely, and building safe cycle routes and better provision of buses will enable them to be more independent which means they can meet their friends, go to parks, leisure centres etc without having to rely on their parents for a lift. In addition, I will talk to young people and find out what they would like to see more of in the area, both for support and leisure activities, and work with them to achieve that as I believe they need to be closely involved in designing any new services that are being set up for them.
Josie Ratcliffe – Liberal Democrats
As a scout leader for 25 years, ensuring young people have opportunities and is something I’ve been passionate about for a long time. I think that youth services are an area that’s best delivered locally, and so like with public transport, the main function of central government should be to ensure that local government gets funded properly and has necessary duties to ensure those services are delivered. We shouldn’t just see young people as some sort of isolated checkbox in policy though: they’re a part of our communities, and measures to improve public transport and build more vibrant high streets can be good for them as much as for other residents. More widely, we need to start actually taking young people’s voices more seriously. I’m in favour of lowering the voting age to 16, and I think getting young people more directly involved in these issues and as partners in, not just users of, services is key to getting solutions that work.
Emily Blake – Labour Party
When I was 15 I actually made a documentary with a friend about the lack of things to do for young people, and actually back then we had considerably more opportunities. It really is a sad situation right now for young people. I was able to attend the connexions centre, have a connexions advisor who came into our secondary school. There was ‘Aim Higher’ which taught young people about their higher education options and career choices, I worked as a mentor for them. We also had EMA which was taken away but I am happy to say Labour will bring back. Youth centres have been closed, 750 of them since 2012. With a Labour government young people will see more opportunities and support come their way with a mental health professional in every school and a reform of advice and guidance in schools, they will have hope for the future knowing they can get their university education for free (one of my jobs was touring the country giving talks on student finance and it was upsetting seeing so many students who felt like they had been priced out of going to university) and may I add, most MPs sitting in parliament received free education themselves. Young people will be supported by the National Education Service throughout their lives. Communities will be given more power over the use of empty shops and buildings, there will be free bus travel for under 25s, the curriculum will be reviewed which as someone who works in schools I am so excited about because let’s’ face it, young people need to be learning things that they can really benefit from throughout their lives, I’m glad Jeremy Corbyn is as keen on teaching life skills in schools as I am. There will also be a climate apprenticeship programme with bursaries.
The other candidates are Liz Truss (Conservative) and Earl Elvis of Outwell (Monster Raving Loony).