The Manifesto for our Future highlights the 'cycle of crises’ that students face and what the next government can do to fix them.
The National Union of Students (NUS UK) has launched its manifesto for the next General Election, backed by the ideas of more than 10,000 students.
The Manifesto for our Future highlights the difficulties students and apprentices currently face, including the cost-of-living crisis, accessibility of education, housing shortages, hostility towards international students, and poor mental health.
Arguing that students are in a ‘cycle of crises’, the manifesto provides solutions to these problems based on consultation with more than 10,000 learners across the UK on their priorities for education and society.
- 96% are cutting back due to the cost-of-living crisis, and 65% of students are cutting back on food
- The average student rent swallows over 99% of the average maintenance loan, leaving students with 50p per week for all other essentials
- 46% of students’ mental health declined in the first term of 2022
- 40% of students have considered dropping out due to the cost of rent and bills
There are more than four million students and apprentices in the UK, representing 10% of the voting population, and the document sets out their priorities on the issues that affect their lives the most.
Data from 7,500 students polled via NUS’ ‘What Students Think’ website shows that:
- 89% of students want to see maintenance grants equivalent to the Living Wage
- 91% of students believe apprentices should be paid the Real Living Wage
- 93% of students agree there should be more investment in greener public transport and housing
- 84% of students believe tuition fees should be abolished
- 77% of students think the working hours cap for international students should be dropped
- 62% see the extension of the provision of transition-related healthcare as a priority issue
The manifesto lays out five key student asks for the next government:
- In the first 100 days, break the student crisis cycle: Lift every student in the UK out of poverty and give us all hope for the future.
- Invest in a thriving future, invest in education: Education that is free at the point of use, without tuition fees, and funded sustainably and publicly.
- Homes for our futures: Quality, green and affordable housing for all.
- A welcoming and inclusive future: The UK should be an amazing place for international students to work and study.
- A healthy future: High-quality healthcare available for free for every single person in the UK.
NUS is presenting the manifesto to politicians in Parliament today, Tuesday 30th January.
Commenting, NUS UK Vice President Higher Education, Chloe Field, said:
“The Manifesto for our Future represents a fundamental shift in students’ relationship with government. Politicians cannot say they didn’t know how their actions affect us, because we are talking with one voice.
“This manifesto was built by over 10,000 students and apprentices from over 500 universities, colleges and training providers in every corner of the UK.
“Students have become the crisis generation. We need real action from politicians to break the cycle of crises, including the reintroduction of grants and abolishing tuition fees, sustainable investment in education, affordable housing for all, a better funded NHS, and an education system that welcomes international students.
“Students hold the keys to the next General Election; at the last election there were 60 constituencies where the number of students was bigger than the vote that decided the outcome. It’s vital that parties and candidates listen to us.”