We reached out to all our local candiates for Bristol West to discuss what they would offer students in this General Election. First is Molly Scott Cato's response for the Green Party.
This is undeniably one of the most important General Elections in a generation. And it’s never been more important that young people have a say.
Standing up for young people is a key commitment by the Greens. Of course, all Parties make this claim. But because of the way members are directly involved in making policy, young people directly shape the Green Party agenda. A quarter of our membership is under 30 so arguably we have the most progressive and inclusive policies for the young.
When it comes to higher education we will scrap tuition fees and re-introduce living grants. It was Labour who introduced tuition fees and the Lib Dems who saw them tripled. Now we have an entire generation of young people saddled with a mountain of debt they will never be able to pay. This is why Greens have made a further promise; to cancel all existing student debt.
In the workplace, we pledge to end the low pay and exploitation that young people frequently encounter. We will increase the minimum wage so that it is a living wage and scrap age related bands, so that everyone, irrespective of their age, receives fair pay for their work.
We will also guarantee that all apprenticeships and internships ensure minimum standards of education, skills, training, support and personal development. Interns and trainees should also be entitled to the national living wage and have access to trade union support in the workplace.
We understand the huge pressures facing ‘generation rent’ as they try to find affordable, secure and comfortable accommodation. We will introduce a ‘living rent’ by introducing rent caps, more secure tenancies for private renters, an end to letting fees, and mandatory licensing for all landlords.
When it comes to Brexit, we know the vast majority of young people want to remain in the EU. Greens are fighting the Tories extreme Brexit plans. We pledge to defend free movement so that young people can continue to access education, job opportunities, new cultural experiences and friendships across Europe.
At the end of the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU, we have called for a ratification referendum. This will allow people a say on whether they support the deal on offer or would prefer to remain a member of the EU. And this time, we promise to allow 16 and 17 year-olds the chance to have a vote.
It’s a tragedy that around a million and a half 16 and 17 year-olds won’t get the chance to vote in this election. At 16 you pay taxes and can join the armed forces, but aren’t allowed to vote. We would end this outrage, giving all 16 year-olds the opportunity to vote in all UK elections.
For those young people over 18 who are currently able to vote, many are put off by our unrepresentative first-past-the-post electoral system. We will scrap this and introduce a proportional voting system so that every vote counts.
In this election, we risk getting a Tory government which will make life so much tougher for young people. Thankfully, the Greens are offering a vision of hope. Hundreds of young people have converged on Bristol West in recent weeks, pounding the streets; knocking on doors and delivering leaflets. They want to be part of history. Not only do they want to see Bristol elect its first Green MP, they also realise the national significance of more Green representatives at Westminster.
Until now, one million Green voters have been represented by just one Green MP. Caroline Lucas may be an awesome and highly respected MP, but Greens deserve more, and Bristol West can deliver.
It’s time. I invite you to be part of history.
Find out more about the Green Party’s policies for young people in our Youth Manifesto: https://younggreens.org.uk/files/Young%20Greens/Youth%20Manifesto%20web.pdf
Listen here to when we asked Molly why she should have your vote: