Labour’s tuition fee u-turn is yet another blow for young voters

From dwindling hopes to getting on the property ladder to stagnating wages, young voters are being offered little by the main political parties

Labour's backtracking on tuition fee promise is a kick in the teeth to young voters. (Credit: Getty Images)Labour's backtracking on tuition fee promise is a kick in the teeth to young voters. (Credit: Getty Images)
Labour's backtracking on tuition fee promise is a kick in the teeth to young voters. (Credit: Getty Images)

As a university graduate, free Scottish tuition fees were my only lifeline to access such institutions. It gave me a pathway to a higher calibre of education, and an additional path for my future.

Anything that came with the prospect of spending thousands of pounds per year to study was an absolute no-go for myself, as it was for many of my friends. Without free tuition fees, I doubt I would find myself where I am today. 

That’s why Starmer’s admission that Labour is planning to ditch its pledge to scrap tuition fees in England - which he pledged to carry on from Corbyn's defeated 2019 manifesto - is disappointing to say the least.  

Shutting out young people from these sorts of opportunities is just the latest in a long line of setbacks for the UK’s younger populace. Getting anywhere near the property ladder is unthinkable for many, while rent sky-rockets across cities, and wages have stagnated since 2008. 

Starting a family - or even just a life - that resembles anything that previous generations took for granted is slipping further and further away. Pair this with the fact that retirement ages are still increasing, the current young generation could be working for longer, for a lower wage, and still won’t be able to afford a proper life for themselves. 

And political leaders are providing no hope for the future of the country. 

The Conservative Party have remained loyal to their roots and to their faithful voters, making promises to the older generations with triple locks on pensions. Now the main opposition - the Labour Party -  is  leaving young voters behind in pursuit of the dyed-in-the-wool Tory voters, with policies which toe the line between Labour and Conservatives. The chase for middle England is leaving young voters behind.

Corbyn’s 2019 manifesto was the glimmer of hope for young people in the UK, which included scrapping university fees and reintroducing maintenance fees. However, Starmer said: "We are likely to move on from that commitment because we do find ourselves in a different financial situation."

The current financial situation of the UK is an understandable reason for the u-turn - but it still doesn’t mean that it isn’t a disappointing move when all we hear is doom and gloom. 

The Liberal Democrats felt the wrath of young voters for backtracking on their similar tuition fees policy after the formation of the coalition in 2010. Labour may well feel the same pressure from young voters during the next general election