By Laura-Jane Rawlings
Theresa May might well be feeling confident that now is the right time to call for a General Election but I just can’t agree with her.
Apprenticeship Reform, Youth Obligation and Education Reform are three big policy reforms going on at the moment, affecting hundreds of thousands of young people, yet they are not fully formed or fully operational yet. Right now these reforms require the full attention of the Ministers and civil servants briefed on those policies. At a point where we are making changes to the education, working and benefit system – all impacting young people this level of change feels badly timed.
A general election will put many things on hold from Monday, as MP’s return to their constituencies to fight for their seats. Civil servants will be limited on the work that they can do once we enter Purdah. We then will have to wait until the 9th of June for a “working” government, even with a Conservative win we are likely to see a period of reshuffle as MP’s are given new responsibilities, to fulfill the promises of new manifestos. If the timeframe for this is anything like the last general election it will be nearly September before the dust settles and the new government, MP’s and Ministers are fully operational.
The time might be right for the PM but what about young people?
Young people need to feel that the government has their best interests at heart and their MP’s are fighting for them. After Brexit we know that many young people felt disenfranchised by the system. It will be interesting to see which party engages with young voters and which manifesto’s reflect the needs of young people. We will use the time between now and the election to lobby candidates and the main parties to ensure that they do listen and act upon the views and needs of young people.
It is imperative that organisations like Youth Employment UK work harder than ever to ensure young people have access to support and are being represented in this election period.