Liberal Youth, in collaboration with others, have put forward an Emergency Motion to Conference called "Standing up for Young People". This motion calls on the Liberal Democrats to oppose measures targeting young people that the Conservative Government put forward in its July budget.
There are a number of emergency motions that have been put forward, but conference will only be able to debate a select few of them. For this reason, we need your help. Any of you who have been selected as conference voting reps by either your party or Liberal Youth, will have the chance to vote for which motions get debated, the voting form being on the back of 'Conference Daily'. Please cast your vote to support getting young people's issues onto the conference agenda, it could make all the difference.
Read the motion below:
Standing up for young people
Conference notes that the July budget by the Conservative Government will have a detrimental impact on young people.
Conference notes with particular concern measures including -
- Exempting those under 25 from the increased minimum wage, which will widen the gap in earnings between young and older people and may cause an employment ‘cliff edge’ at the age of 25 when the cost of employing someone increases.
- Cuts to tax credits, which will have a disproportionate impact on young people, especially young parents, who are not covered by the increased minimum wage.
- The conversion of Student Maintenance Grants into loans, which will act as a disincentive to young people from poorer backgrounds to attend university.
- Plans to consult on further changes to the tuition fees system, including freezing the repayment threshold at £21,000 while increasing the amount of interest paid, which will mean students paying back more while on comparatively lower pay.
- Withdrawing housing benefit from 18 to 21 year olds, which will make it harder for people to leave home in search of work, and will hit young people in low income jobs, particularly those without a strong family network on which to fall back.
- That the education budget will only be protected on the basis of increasing pupil numbers, not in overall real terms, meaning they will spend £5.16 billion less per year by 2020 than under Liberal Democrat proposals.
Conference believes that -
i. The measures in the Conservative budget will be deeply damaging to both the opportunities and outcomes for young people, increasing intergenerational inequality and make it harder for future generations to succeed.
ii. That the Government should instead be investing in creating opportunities for young people so they may fulfil their potential and contribute to our economy and society.
iii. The Government needs to place a greater emphasis on reducing the number of young people facing poverty.
Conference therefore calls for Liberal Democrats to -
- Oppose measures to limit the increase in the minimum wage to those over 25.
- Oppose cuts to tax credits for under 25s, so long as they are not covered by the mitigating effect of the increased minimum wage as those over 25 are.
- Champion further tax incentives for small businesses in order to help them employ people under 25 on the newly increase minimum wage.
- Oppose the exclusion of 18 – 21 year olds from housing benefit.
- Oppose further changes to the tuition fee and student grants settlements that effectively increase costs for those attending university.
- Continue to fight for the overall education budget to be excluded from further cuts to departmental spending.
- Ensure young people are given a voice in the democratic process by supporting measures to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds, including supporting amendments passed by Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords on the voting age for local elections when they enter the Commons.