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Next in Comment’s Conference series, the Conservatives.

Following the Conservative Party conference, Harry Eastley-Jones from Bristol Conservatives argues that the Tories’ common-sense economics and policies make them the realistic party for young people.

This year I attended my first Conservative Party Conference. It was a somewhat subdued affair compared to events in Brighton where the Cult of Corbyn celebrated their glorious election defeat. In all fairness though, despite us still being in power we must recognise our message was poorly crafted which led to so many of my generation voting for Labour and the loss of our majority.

‘A common sense approach and rooted in results and facts unlike the economically illiterate proposals put forward by Corbyn’

I’m happy to report at Conference the signals were that this has been recognised. MPs and Ministers made this quite clear and there have been some positive policy announcements. The Prime Minister announced she would be freezing the price of Tuition Fees and the threshold of income at which you start paying them back has been raised from £21,000 to £25,000 a year.  This means you will only begin to start paying back your student loan when you are earning a decent yearly income.

This is by far the most sensible way to fund student education, a common sense approach and rooted in results and facts unlike the economically illiterate proposals put forward by Corbyn. Since the introduction of tuition fees working-class participation and general University attendance has been raised. For example, in 2016 you were 78% more likely to go to University than if you were on free school meals than in 2006. This is quite contrary to the outright lies put out there by Corbyn and Angela Rayner that increased fees are harming poorer students.

‘The SNP in 2008 decided to make University tuition fee exempt and it has had a disastrous effect’

If you still doubt my suggestion that tuition fees have been positive I suggest you look at the Scottish University system. The SNP in 2008 decided to make University tuition fee exempt and it has had a disastrous effect. UCAS rejections have risen from 8,625 in 2006 to 16,250 in 2016, as the Scottish Universities have been forced to set limitations on the amount of students it can take a year compared to England were David Cameron removed the cap on student numbers from all Universities in 2014.

A panel at the Conservative conference including, among others, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nicky Morgan.

The other most pressing issue facing people of a younger generation today is that of housing. Successive governments have overseen a chronic shortage in housebuilding which has led to prices sky rocketing. Again the government as recognised this and has pledged an extra £10 billion to the Help to Buy scheme which will help 135,000 young people take their first step on to the housing ladder. A further £2 billion has been pledged to build 25,000 Council homes by 2021 (private investment could see this rise to 50-60,000) to help those further down the income scale find a more affordable place to live. However, despite the Conservatives recognising the issues facing it, I would argue there is still far more they can and should be doing.

‘We must loosen regulation around green-belt building, protect only selective areas of great natural beauty and allow companies to get on with the job of building’

This injection of money into Help to Buy will not work on its own unless we free up the market to create new homes. Planning permission and house-building in Britain is one of the most regulated markets in the Western World.

‘Aspiration, that is what the Conservative Party at its best is all about’

We must loosen regulation around green-belt building, protect only selective areas of great natural beauty and allow companies to get on with the job of building not weighing them down with endless red-tape. Just building on brownfield sites is not enough. Unless supply goes up the endless rising costs of homes will not stop. This free-market approach would be a genuinely Conservative, sensible proposal that would give more people the chance to achieve the aspiration of owning their own home.

‘We want people to be free to make their own choices, not live under a Socialist Nanny State’

Aspiration, that is what the Conservative Party at its best is all about. The chance to get on, do well for yourself and provide a comfortable life for you and your family. Unlike the Communist Cabal currently in control of the Labour Party we understand the want for people to get on. We want people to be free to make their own choices, not live under a Socialist Nanny State which claims to know better than you on how you should live your life. The Conservative Party should not be afraid to defend these principles like we were during the General Election.

Even if Jeremy Corbyn’s crazy economic policies help a student in the short term by removing their fees, what is the point of a degree when post-graduate jobs dry up due to the increasing corporation tax he suggests sends companies packing abroad.

The fact that this ‘government in waiting’ is forecasting a run on the pound confirms what we all should know by now, Socialism won’t and never has led to a thriving economy. That’s why for now and for your future the Conservative Party is still the best party for the young but there are still steps forward we must take.


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