From the moment the Exit Poll result was announced, the nation was swept with shock on both sides. By morning, the Exit Poll was proven true – Boris Johnson won the 2019 General Election with a massive majority. While most called this “The Brexit Election”, it was not the only campaign point. This is what the next five years could have in store for students away from our future relationship with the continent.
Reinstate Student Nurse Maintenance Grant
The National Health Service, particularly recruitment, was a hot debate through the campaign. While most media pointed to the Tory’s poor handling of the NHS since 2010, there are some positives. The manifesto promised to reinstate the maintenance grant for student nurses. Recruitment and salary have been major concerns with plenty of evidence of a recruitment crisis in healthcare.
Investigate Grade Inflation
It comes around every summer – fury in the media that all qualifications are too easy now, with plenty of hyperbole about how simple it is to get an A*. This may or may not be a genuine problem. Nevertheless, the government will investigate grade weighting and inflation to determine whether such high grades are justified, and what could be done.
Free Speech on Campus
Another flashpoint is concerns over “no platforming” of undesirable, controversial or outlying opinions. The media has wrongly targeted universities for this when such actions are often taken by the student guild. Figures that have been no-platformed in recent years include Germaine Greer and Peter Tatchell for what respective Guilds felt were transphobic comments.
Student Loan Interest Rates
Although current student loans are being repaid at the rate of inflation, the low repayments being made by some students mean debts are not clearing as quickly as expected. Wage rises have been low for some 10 years now. The government promised to look at how much interest students will pay back their student loans.
Raising the NI Threshold
One of the first acts of the 2010 coalition on taxation was to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000, increased from around £5,500. It increased in £500 increments five times and now sits at £12,500. During this parliament, the same should happen for National Insurance Contributions (NICs), firstly increasing to £9,500 and then to £12,500. This should put more money in the pocket for working people and ease financial burdens for working students too.
Not usually known as the party of the environment, the Conservatives have promised to:
- Honour the previous parliament’s agreement to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050
- Introduce more recyclable plastics and cease production of non-recyclables
- Not commence fracking until the science determines that it is completely safe
- Introduce a deposit return scheme for glass and plastic