NUS encouraging students to vote


NUS president Wes Streeting wants students to start voting. Photo: Labour Students

The National Union of Students launched a campaign to encourage students to vote in this year’s General Election.

The campaign, called “Vote for Students“, also comes with a new website containing information about candidates standing for election in local areas, and highlights which MPs have signed up to the NUS’ “Funding our Future Pledge”.

The NUS pledge promises to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.

The NUS also identified 20 key areas were the student vote could make a difference to the result. Wes Streeting, NUS president, said: “In many seats up and down the country the student vote can make a decisive difference. Through this campaign we hope to remind students of the danger of not taking our votes seriously. Our message to candidates is simple, vote for us or pay the price.”

A key part of this campaign is that the funding review into higher education will not take place until after the General Election. Nationally, students represent 15% of the electorate, but traditionally they are a low participation group in elections. In the 2005 election many university seats changed hands, and in many marginal constituencies students had an impact on the results.

Gillian Merron, the MP for Lincoln, said in an open letter to University of Lincoln students in December 2009 that a rise in student fees is not a “foregone conclusion” and that it “would be wrong for any of us to pre-empt the findings of an independent review.”

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