AS chants of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ fill the air in students unions across the country, the Tories have launched an all-out assault to win back the hearts and minds of Britain’s youth.
But they’re in for a tough fight on their hands, as recent research revealed that 44 per cent would “definitely not” vote Tory at the next election.
Getty Images – Getty What can the Tories do to win back more young support?
Rex Features A young Corbyn fan at Glastonbury wearing a T-shirt in his honour
Michael Gove insisted this week that the Tories must stop “recycling tired arguments” about Venezuela and talking about how great Margaret Thatcher was if they are to woo them back over to the blue team after 2017’s ‘youthquake’ results.
The Environment Secretary said his party must listen careful to young people and their views about the world if they were really going to make inroads.
So what are the Tories doing to try and reach out to young people?
The Centre for Policy Studies showcased 13 proposals from rising star backbench MPs with their own bright, common-sense plans to try and show that they aren’t a party who has run out of ideas. Here are a selection of their plans.
Let students register for two GPs at uni to tackle mental health epidemic
Getty – Contributor Students should be allowed to register with another MP when they are at university, one MP argues
Helen Whately MP & Alys Denby say students need more help when they move out of home to study.
They want to see students able to register at two GPs to help ensure they can access the care they need whenever they need it.
And they demand that universities start rolling out mental health training like in schools, and provide dedicated support workers to every student.
“Students are meant to have the time of their lives at University, but for some it doesn’t turn out that way – in fact a growing number of students are dying by
suicide,” Faversham and Mid Kent MP Ms Whatley said.
“I want to see Universities take up the challenge and try to become the best at supporting students’ mental health – that should be part of their offer to attract the modern, discerning student who cares not only about whether their degree will help them get a good job, but also whether it will give them a good experience and set them up to live life to the full.”
Slash pensioner perks like free bus passes for the rich and ditch pensions protections to make generational divide more fair
PA:Press Association/PA Images Pensioners currently enjoy a triple lock guarantee on their income – should it stay?
Scot Tory MP Paul Masterton says the triple lock on pensions – which says the state pension goes up by either inflation, earnings or 2.5% per year – “cannot be maintained indefinitely”.
He said pensioner perks must be “properly targeted” as “precious public funds are being spent on well-off pensioners,” and also called for employers and employees to have to put more cash into pensions to help better fund retirement.
“If we want to avoid increasing burdens on younger workers to fund large transfers of wealth to better-off pensioners, those issues around the triple lock and universal benefits need to be addressed.”
During the General Election last year many Tories felt the hated social care policy was to blame for their loss.
But the East Renfrewshire politician says that not to act to address the issue of intergenerational unfairness would be a “betrayal of the next generation”.
He told The Sun that retirement was an issue that the Tories “needed to start talking about more” or the young would continue to feel left behind.
Fatcat developers should pay tax that goes straight to local community
Getty – Contributor Housing is the number one issue for young people today, polling has shown
Tory MP Bim Afolami calls for a Permission Value Tax, which would ensure the roads, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure is able to keep pace with rapid new housing developments.
He says his proposal would help make house-building acceptable to local people – and deliver on the pressing need to rapidly increase Britain’s housing stock.
Polling showed that getting more affordable housing was the top issue for young people – and are angry at being squeezed out of the market.
The Hitchin and Harpenden MP told The Sun: “It is important for young people because the only hope for them to be able to afford to live in nice areas is if local areas support the building of more housing.
“This policy is not a panacea on its own, but it is a critical part of ensuring that young people have a chance of owning their own home in the future.”
Digital on-the-spot fines for online trolls
Alamy The Tories want to show they can be tough on online abuse
We’ve all heard stories of how extremists on both the left and right dominate social media and use it to send sick abuse to people that don’t agree with them.
Not only does it degrade politics but it puts off people – in particular women – from getting involved at all.
In an attempt to try and punish those who use disgusting language online, ex-CCHQ boss and Communications Head at the Centre for Policy Studies, Emma Barr proposed an on-the-spot fine like for speeding for those who use hate speech or make death threats online.
She told the Sun: “Young people today are keenly aware of the effects such abuse can have and will be making the decision about whether to enter politics with their eyes truly open to this ugly side of our industry.
“So, I proposed a digital on-the-spot fine for those engaging this cowardly behaviour meaning instant consequences for the perpetrator, some form of justice for victims and sending a strong signal to the wider country that this will simply not be tolerated in Britain.
“It’s not about censorship – it’s about punishing the kind of hate speech and abuse that’s already illegal both online and off.”
Make the NHS digital and allow WhatsApp-style doctors
Getty – Contributor Should the NHS become more digital?
Ditch paper records in the NHS and make it totally digital, Alan Mak MP argues.
Not only will it save money, trials where doctors can talk to patients on WhatsApp will bring the NHS in line with modern Britain, he says.
Mr Mak told The Sun: “Young people can book flights, manage their cash and do so many things by app already.
“We need to make the NHS fully digital so the smartphone generation have healthcare at their fingertips.
“My NHS Now app would allow patients to book appointments, order prescriptions and get health advice via their smartphone, bringing the NHS fully into the digital age.”
Other ideas floated were to make Britain’s air cleaner, relax rules around onshore wind to look after the planet, and giving young people who save to retrain a government bonus.
But what did young people think about their views?
Schoolteacher Catherine told The Sun it was a “genuine problem” having to keep swapping between doctors at university and would welcome being able to register with two.
But she poured cold water on the idea of totally digitising the NHS, saying “Does it really need money being spent on?”
Others welcomed online booking but said taxing developers wouldn’t do much to help the housing crisis.
AFP or licensors Can the Tories woo over younger voters with bold new policies?