How will SDLP deliver for students at the General Election? | Analysis of GE24 Manifesto

How will SDLP deliver for students at the General Election? | Analysis of GE24 Manifesto

SDLP have released their party manifesto for the General Election.

Politics affects all of us, but sometimes manifestos can be hard to understand. That's why we will be breaking down what the major parties' manifestos say about the issues that matter to students.  We've had a look at the policies most relevant to students, apprentices and young people.


Here's what they've promised

  • Support properly funded higher and further education to expand opportunity for all people, regardless of backgrounds including a fundamental review of Higher Education funding with a mix of teaching and research funding for university as well as financial support for students.
  • Fight to ensure that the appropriate funding is made available to the Northern Ireland Executive to address the housing crisis.
  • Seek investment in public transport.
  • Pledge to end zero hour contracts and will continue to campaign for an equal minimum wage to prevent pay discrimination against young people.
  • Commitment to properly funding apprenticeships and expand number of Higher-Level Apprenticeships, particularly in places of disadvantage.

Here's what they're missing

  • Party contains welcome recognition of students needing financial support, but could contain further detail on measures it would take to address this, like uprating and backdating maintenance loans, maintenance loans for postgraduate students and living stipends for postgraduate researchers.
  • Positive mentions of addressing the housing crisis, but further details on measures could be included through rent controls and regulation, or abolishing the need for rental guarantors.
  • No mention of requiring colleges and universities to offer a voter registration service during enrolment.
  • Although SDLP have recently pledged their support of votes at 16 in a letter to NUS there is no mention of this in their manifesto.

Other policies that they've promised

  • Seek dedicated resource to reduce waiting lists which have remained out of control.
  • Strong support for the Irish language sector, including ensuring that Irish-medium education is fully supported.
  • A full-size university campus at Magee of at least 10,000 students.
  • Lobby for the publication and funding of a robust and cross-cutting Anti-Poverty Strategy.
  • Support the exploration of pilot schemes of Universal Basic Income particularly in areas of highest disadvantage.
  • Introduction of 5 days paid carers’ leave.
  • Level the playing field for further and higher education colleges and working towards a cohesive ecosystem of third-level education.
  • Lobby a new UK government to increase the rate of tax-free childcare to 35% and lift the annual cap.
  • Promote equal opportunities for integration of asylum seekers into society including access to health, education, housing and fair employment for all in our community.
  • Ensure comprehensive ban on conversion practices and provision of gender affirming healthcare services.
  • Fight for funding for LGBTQIA+ organisations and support services.
  • Lobby the Executive Office repeatedly to reverse the indefensible cut to Women’s Aid.
  • Fight for A5 Delivery and advocate for A6 completion.
  • Prioritise water quality, support new legislation on clean air and fight for a Lough Neagh recovery plan.
  • Support pay parity between Further Education Lecturers and school teaching staff.

This week we're summarising the manifestos of all the parties in Northern Ireland as their manifestos are released — join the conversation on social media and make sure you're following NUS-USI to stay in the loop with all the summaries!

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