Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, and Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, today launched the Labour Party’s new “Speak Out For Your Generation” campaign to give young people in Britain a voice.
As the chaos continues for the Tory-led Government, Labour is making a Christmas invitation to young people: join the Party for one penny, and we will be your voice.
Ed Miliband today said: “Today’s revelations paint a damming picture of the character and direction of this government.
“Labour has been saying for some months, this government is not in the centre-ground of British politics.
“It is one well out on the Right.
“The key economic and welfare decisions are Tory decisions.
“On child benefit, housing benefit, tuition fees, and the pace of deficit reduction.
“These are decisions of a Conservative-led government propped up by Liberal Democrat passengers.
“Passengers not in the front seat.
“Passengers who have got themselves locked in the boot.”
Labour’s new campaign begins with three key aims to help young people protect themselves against the Tory-led Government’s attack on aspiration:
* Halt the unfair policy of scrapping EMA which helps some of the poorest young people, by holding a Parliamentary vote in the New Year;
* Protect Sure Start centres in our community now under threat of closure despite promises from David Cameron and Nick Clegg to protect them;
* Continue to campaign against the unnecessary and unfair tripling of tuition fees.
We will not let young people carry the burden of this Government’s broken promises and will lead campaigns in these key areas to force real change and protect the hopes of a generation.
This campaign is part of the debate about the future of social mobility, something that Ed Miliband has described as one of the three big arguments for 2011.
The launch was also attended by two of Labour’s youngest MPs – Chuka Umunna MP and Stella Creasy MP.
Speaking at the Press Conference Andy Burnham said:
“As the Tory-led Government’s parties turn inwards to deal with their increasing chaos, Labour is reaching out to young people.
“It is not good enough for Cabinet ministers, who do not agree with the Government’s programme, to nod through policies that are damaging the hopes of young people.
“It is not good enough to talk tough in their constituency surgeries but keep quiet at the Cabinet table. Liberal Democrats know that their supporters did not vote for these unfair policies.
“But as we go into the Christmas period, it seems the only people safe in their jobs are Lib Dem Ministers.
“It’s clear that Cabinet ministers won’t stand up for young people. But Labour will – and that’s what this campaign is about.
“I know how hard it is today for young people to make their way in the world. But in recent weeks, the odds have been stacked against them even further.
“This Tory-led Government have launched an unprecedented attack on young people which threatens to turn the hopes of the next generation to dust.
“By trebling tuition fees, and scrapping Educational Maintenance Allowances and the Future Jobs Fund, Tory ministers are pulling up the drawbridge and kicking away the ladders.
“This is a Government out of touch with what life is like for young people who have least but want to make a success of their lives. From early years to adulthood, they are systematically putting up barriers and attacking aspiration.
“Of course tough choices are needed to get the deficit down – fair tax rises, spending scaled back, and a focus on growth. But this is about the Tory Government’s choices. Firstly, their choice to go too far and too fast on the deficit. And secondly, their clear choice that young people will bear the brunt of their cuts.
“It makes no economic sense for children to pay more than bankers. Every young person not in employment, education or training costs our economy £50,000. We all pay the price when young people have no hope of a better future.
“There can be no doubt that promises to protect Sure Start, keep EMA and scrap tuition fees – now broken – will have further damaged trust in politics.
“But there is hope. Our campaign to save school sports has shown what is possible. Hundreds of thousands of young people made their voice heard, Labour brought that voice to Parliament, and David Cameron was forced into a humiliating retreat.
“Young people should take heart from that. It shows how, contrary to popular opinion, democratic politics can make a difference.
“Today, Labour issues a Christmas invitation to young people: join us and we will be your first line of defence.
“The fight-back is underway and this new campaign, “Speak Out for Your Generation” will take it further.
“Our first priority will be to force a Parliamentary vote on the Government’s decision to scrap EMA. The Conservatives promised to keep it, but are breaking this promise without any debate or vote in Parliament. Let me quote to you what a young man who travelled all the way from the North East to be at our EMA event in parliament last week. He is training to be a painter and decorator, and he told me what EMA meant for him:
‘This £30 a week is funding my dream. It might not be big dream, but it’s my dream.’
“In the New Year, we will take the fight forward with a campaign in every community to protect Sure Start centres, so all young people get the opportunities they deserve right from the start of life. John Denham will take our call for fairer University funding to every school, college and campus.
“Our Party stands for removing barriers so today I can announce that until 5th May, young people can join the Labour Party for one penny.
“I was part of a generation that joined Labour in the 1980s because I passionately believed that the postcode of the bed you are born should not determine where you end up in life.
“It’s why I’m still Labour today. I want the next generation to see Labour as I did – as the force for a fairer spread of life chances.
“That’s why I’m issuing this invitation today – we want to bring the voice of young people to our Party. Join us and we will help you fight for a better future.”Other news from The Labour Party