What Are Lib Dems, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru Promising Students in the 2019 UK General Election?
The upcoming UK General Election looks to be a two-horse race, with Labour and the Conservatives leading the way in the polls. We have explored in detail what the two major parties are proposing in their manifestos here, but it’s important to consider what the other parties in Parliament are vowing to do if they disrupt the status quo and gain power.
If you’re struggling to decide who to vote for, and the two major parties don’t appeal, read on to discover what the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the SNP (in Scotland) and Plaid Cymru (in Wales) are promising students in their 2019 manifestos.
Leader: Jo Swinson
Number of MPs: 20
Slogan: Stop Brexit. Build a Brighter Future
- The Lib Dems will stop Brexit by revoking Article 50 and spending the £50 billion ‘Remain bonus’ on public services.
- They will create a ‘Skills Wallet’ of £10,000 to be offered at three stages of every adult’s working life for education and training courses.
- They will put 1p on the basic rate of income tax to spend on health and social care.
- Planning to recruit 20,000 more teachers as part of an extra £10 billion a year to be spent on schools.
- They will tackle the climate emergency by generating 80 percent of UK electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
- Introduction of a legal, regulated market for cannabis.
- To develop the skilled workforce, the Lib Dems will offer a new two-year visa for international students to work after graduation.
- Will require universities to make mental health services accessible to their students and introduce a Student Mental Health Charter through legislation.
- Reinstatement of maintenance grants for the poorest students.
- Extra help for nursing students, including bursaries for specialties with shortages such as mental health and learning disability nursing.
Green Party of England and Wales
Number of MPs: 1
Leader(s): Jonathan Bartley and Siân Berry
Slogan: Leading the Fight for Climate Action, a People's Vote, a Fair Society for All
- The Greens plan to invest £100 billion a year by 2030 as part of a ‘Green New Deal’ in order to combat climate change. This will mainly be paid for by borrowing and tax increases, including raising corporation tax to 24 percent.
- Plan to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and building 100,000 new zero-carbon homes for social rent each year.
- Will introduce a universal basic income of at least £89 per week for every adult by 2025.
- Banning the construction of nuclear power stations and fracking for oil and gas.
- Want to increase NHS funding by at least £6 billion a year.
- Will scrap university tuition fees, and any students who were studying under the £9,000 tuition fee regime will have their debts wiped off.
- Will hold a further Brexit referendum and campaign to remain in the EU.
- Want to introduce proportional representation, create a fully elected House of Lords and extend voting rights to 16 and 17-year olds.
- Invest a further £1 billion a year in nursing higher education, including bursaries.
Scottish National Party
Leader: Nicola Sturgeon
Number of MPs: 35
Slogan: It's Time to Choose Our Own Future
- Will keep Scotland in the EU and back a new UK-wide referendum on EU membership.
- Focus on independence for Scotland, with a second independence referendum being a priority.
- The proposed National Health Service Protection Act will prevent trade deals causing profit-driven exploitation.
- Investment in the economy and public services to end austerity.
- Devolution of immigration powers, employment law and drug policy.
- Scrap Trident and invest the billions saved into public services.
- Implementing a Green Energy Deal that ensures green energy schemes get long-term certainty to support investment.
- Re-introduce the post-study work visa scheme that was scrapped in 2012 by the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition.
- No return to tuition fees in Scotland for Scottish and EU students.
Leader: Adam Price
Number of MPs: 4
Slogan: Wales, It's Us / Ni yw Cymru
- Hold a ‘Final Say’ referendum on Brexit, which will campaign to remain in the EU.
- £20 billion investment in green infrastructure by asking the UK government to give an additional 1 percent of GDP over 10 years and raising Wales’ borrowing limit.
- Make Wales a carbon-neutral and single-use-plastic-free nation by 2030.
- Deliver publicly owned full fiber broadband by 2025.
- Set up an Independence Commission to recommend how Wales can achieve independence in the next decade.
- Will provide a subsidy for Welsh students who wish to complete their university studies in Wales.
- Work towards free higher education for all.
This article was originally published in December 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020