GE2024: UK Youth responds to Conservative manifesto

11 June 2024

  • Latest news

National youth work charity UK Youth has reacted to the Conservative Party’s manifesto.

Among the many pledges in the party’s newly published manifesto, Clear Plan, Bold Action, Secure Future, ahead of the general election on July 4, the Conservatives have said that “to secure young people’s future”, they “will deliver”:

Other proposals include to continue to support delivery of National Citizen Service; open ‘early support hubs’ to support mental health of those aged 11-25 in every local community by 2030; and continue to support programmes that encourage disadvantaged children and young people to access green spaces. 

Jacob Diggle, UK Youth chief impact officer.

Jacob Diggle, UK Youth chief impact officer, said: “We are disappointed that the Conservative Party manifesto lacks the ambition and investment required to release the untapped potential of young people and youth work. However, there are some things to be welcomed.

“The lingering effects of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have had a profound impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, so we are also pleased to see plans to support the mental health of those aged 11-25 with early support hubs in every community. Youth workers will be essential for the successful implementation of these hubs, working shoulder-to-shoulder with therapists, social workers, and teachers.”

“We have been proud to lead delivery of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport-backed Adventures Away from Home fund. We have seen first-hand the benefits of outdoor learning and how it can make a life-changing impact on young people. We welcome the Conservatives’ pledge to continue to support such programmes, which encourage disadvantaged children and young people to access green spaces.”

Photo of Ndidi Okezie OBE, UK Youth chief executive officer smiling.
Ndidi Okezie OBE, UK Youth chief executive officer.

Regarding the Conservative proposal for national service for 18-year-olds, Ndidi Okezie OBE, UK Youth chief executive officer, said: “We can get caught up in debating the specifics of mandatory participation or the merits of various programmes, but whether it is National Service, or NCS year of service, or gap years, or internships, or apprenticeships, the reality is different things work for different people and that is okay.

“Many countries have successful National Service programmes, but they have built infrastructure around the experience, ensuring it is an integrated stage in a young person’s life. The core issue we face is the lack of sustained investment to supporting youth development.”

Election calls

Ahead of the forthcoming General Election, UK Youth is urging all political parties to: 

About UK Youth

UK Youth is a leading charity with a vision that all young people are equipped to thrive and empowered to contribute at every stage of their lives. With an open network of more than 8,000 youth organisations and nation partners; UK Youth reaches more than four million young people across the UK and is focused on unlocking youth work as the catalyst of change that is needed now more than ever. To find out more, visit ukyouth.org 

UK Youth is involved in a range of programmes designed to help young people thrive, such as outdoor learning, physical literacy, social action and employability, including Hatch, a youth employability programme run in partnership with KFC. For more on UK Youth’s programmes, see ukyouth.org/what-we-do/programmes

For more about youth matters and the general election, see ukyouth.org/general-election-2024

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