WORCESTER’s university chief has called for nursing grants to be restored following a general election where the votes of students and young people ‘came of age’.
Professor David Green,Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester, called for action to be taken to tackle young people’s needs following Friday’s result which resulted in a hung parliament.
Early reports suggest turnout to vote among 18 to 24-year-olds was as high as 70 per cent, compared to 43 per cent in the 2015 poll
The most stunning election result was in Canterbury where university students queued to vote and clearly contributed to the election of Canterbury’s first Labour MP for 99 years.
“This is the election when the student and young people’s vote came of age,” said Professor Green.
“It was a very important election. tudents and young people want change and we should back them. They have spoken clearly and Parliament must listen.”
The outspoken university chief called on politicians to introduce a number of measures within weeks which he said would command a significant majority of MPs in the new Parliament.
His main demand is for the Government to reintroduce the bursary for nursing and midwifery students which was controversially scrapped by the Tories last year in a bid to save £800million a year.
The move means aspiring nurses and midwives now have to fund the cost of their education, a decision condemned by Professor Green.
“Evidence from around the country shows that there has been a dramatic drop in applications for nursing and midwifery since the imposition of the £9,250 fee which will apply to new students from September.
“The country needs more nurses and midwives. Places should be increased on these vital courses and the bursary restored immediately.”
Professor Green also proposed that no interest should be charged on students loans and the threshold at which repayments start, which has been frozen for several years, should be lifted to £25,000.
“The student loan interest rate will jump to a massive 6.1 per cent per annum this September – which is simply unfair,” said Professor Green.
“Students are deeply concerned to have opportunities to study for part of their course in other countries in Europe and around the world.
“Britain must commit now to remaining a member of the Erasmus programme, which does such invaluable work in helping UK students and promotes student exchange throughout Europe.
“All these things could be done without great expense and they would be a big help to young people who are graduating and studying and the whole of Britain will benefit in due course from their skilled dedicated work,” he added.