Thursday, 31 March 2011

Debate Success

Last night in parliament was the first cross party debate, ‘Is the Coalition working for Young People’ that was organised by Liberal Youth and attended by over 70 members of Conservative Future, Liberal Youth and the Young Fabians.

Brooks Newmark MP making his case to the panel

The debate was chaired by Matt Grist from Demos and each youth organisation was represented by a speaker who were;
- Lembit Opik (on behalf of Liberal Youth)
- Brooks Newmark MP (on behalf of Conservative Future) 
- Teresa Pearce MP (on behalf of Young Fabians)

It was a lively debate and I remember the last cross party debate that I attended whilst we were in opposition and I must say, that it’s always easier to criticise those in government, than it is being in government and defending difficult choices and decisions that government have to make. We all have to remember that as soon as the coalition government took to office, they had to pick up the pieces of Labour’s broken society and economy, and had to make some unpopular and tough decisions in the national interest.

Brooks stated very eloquently about how we must resolve the budget deficit, in order to help the next generation. We all must remember that we are in a dire financial crisis, and due to Labour’s irresponsible spending culture, we are now forking out £120million pounds a day- just to pay interest on the debt. That money should be spent on schools, hospitals and to help the most vulnerable people in our society. This cannot happen, until we get the debt down.

However, as Brooks mentioned last night- it’s not all doom and gloom. Last week in the budget, George Osborne announced an additional 50,000 apprenticeships- creating a total of 250,000 apprenticeships. This will be funded over the next four years to get young people trained with the skills that they need for the future. 100,000 work experience placements will be created for young people and a doubling of the University Technical Colleges programme will create at least 24 new colleges, and will ensure that Britain remains a leader in science and engineering.

The changes to tuition fees will widen as extra grants and loans will be brought in to help the poorest students. The threshold of repayment is being raised to £21,000 which is up from £15,000 as set by Labour. This is an issue not to play politics with, and these difficult decisions are being made in the national interest- we must remember, that under Labour for 13 years, we saw the largest neglect of higher education of any government in post-war Britain. Without these tough fee changes, it will be impossible to fund our world class Universities, and maintain our reputation on the global stage.

A member from the floor asking the panel a question

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