MP concerned about influence of Russell Brand urges Newham students ‘use your vote’
PUBLISHED: 16:15 27 January 2015 | UPDATED: 16:31 27 January 2015
More than three million young people will have their first opportunity to vote in May’s general election – but students at New Vic Sixth Form college say politicians must do more to regain their trust.
Liam Byrne MP, shadow minister for universities, science and skills, visited the college in Plaistow to urge government and politics students to take part in the democratic process.
He is concerned about influential figures like campaigner Russell Brand, who is telling the British electorate not to bother voting in May.
In a trip to the school on January 20 the MP spoke to young people about their futures and listened to their concerns.
Financial help with studies and getting a job after university were listed as the students’ top concerns and the majority felt policies on tuition fees would determine who they voted for in May.
The trip was part of Labour’s “shape your future” consultation roadshow, planned to gather students’ concerns in order to help shape their manifesto for young people.
Government and politics student, Abdullah Saheb, said: “Many young people have lost trust in politicians, so politicians should do more to regain their trust.
“I think it’s a very good thing Mr Byrne visited us because it encourages young people to vote and restore our trust in politicians.”
Mr Byrne, who last visited the college in 2009, said it was a delight to visit NewVIc, adding: “The young people were full of aspiration and entrepreneurial flair.
“This generation is as ambitious and optimistic as any which has gone before - we need their voice in politics.”
Principal Eddie Playfair said, “This was a great opportunity for us to share our work with a front bench education spokesperson.
“I was able to tell him about the large number of NewVIc students who progress to university every year and also explain how we have been affected by the cut in funding for 18-year-olds and the unfair VAT position of colleges compared to schools.
“Young people in Newham have fantastic ambition and skills. They really value education and they want the next government to invest more in their futures.”