Election 2017

Election 2017: Five young voters explain what issues matter to them

Young people consider Brexit, health, education, housing and the economy to be the most important issues in the election, according to a YouGov survey. Five 18 to 24-year-olds explain why these issues matter to them.


1. 'I'm worried about job opportunities'

Image copyright Natasha Meek

Natasha Meek, 18, from Leeds

"I'm worried about what there is out there, and I'm nervous to get into the job world," says Natasha, who is studying for her A-levels.

"But also I am worried that there is not something for me."

Natasha wants stability in her future.

"At the moment, the main problem for me is knowing that there is a job out there and making sure businesses can take on more people.

"I am hoping to get an apprenticeship, but there are limited opportunities - uni is a safe option in the job world."

But Natasha was put off university because of the fees.

"Young people are under a lot of stress and a lot of pressure as well to get a good job and a good degree," she says, "and I don't think it is possible."


2. 'More needs to be done on mental health'

Image copyright Omar Khan

Omar Khan, 21, from Brighton

"I just felt like I wasn't normal I suppose," Omar says of his own struggles with his mental health.

"I didn't feel I could talk about it with anyone.

"It is like a shameful thing coming from an Asian family."

Omar, who suffered from depression and anxiety as a teenager, says mental health is "100%" an issue that's important to young people and the government should be doing more to raise awareness.

He praises the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry for talking about the issue and says it has become "more prominent".

Educating young people about mental health is key and the topic should be included in lessons at school, Omar says.

And more money also needs to go into the NHS to help things such as staffing.

"I was at A&E last week and there was a three-hour waiting time," he says.

"There were two doctors to see all these people."


3. 'I feel very strongly about free movement'

Lucy Edwards, 21, from Birmingham

"The reason I love free movement in the EU is when I lost my eyesight at 17, a lot of the surgeons and consultants were European and from different nationalities. Without their expertise, I wouldn't even have any light perception," says Lucy.

"I feel very strongly about free movement.

"If we want the UK to be a great nation, to have the best skills, the best careers, we need to have open doors."

She believes "integration makes the world go round" and a multinational UK is "more caring", and "what the UK stands for".

"The reason the UK has an attraction is people can move feely and think freely," she says.

Lucy voted Remain in the EU referendum, and was really upset by the result.

"I believe that the European Court of Justice is so instrumental in helping make the right decision for the UK," she says.

"I felt leaving the EU would create division and bad feeling between the member countries, and I believe that everyone is always better working together to create equality."


4. 'We're struggling to get on the housing ladder'

Image copyright Amie Cadwallader

Amie Cadwallader, 23, from Sittingbourne

"Me and Paul have been married for three years this December, we want to move out and buy a house," says Amie, who lives at her mum's house in Kent with her husband.

"We don't want to rent. We want to have children and have security for them."

But, she says, the large deposit required to buy a home means they will have to save for a long time.

"Everyone is struggling to get on the market. It is not feasible," she says.

The 23-year-old says it is not just about building more houses, but about building the infrastructure needed to support them - and making sure housing is affordable.

"The Help to Buy Scheme [where borrowers were able to get a mortgage with just a 5% deposit] stopped in December," she says.

"It just makes it even more difficult for young people to get on the market - there is nothing there for us."


5. 'University debt is a scary prospect'

Image copyright Jessica Haycox

Jessica Haycox, 21, from Shrewsbury but living in Belfast

"I think education is one of the key things you need to have to get security," says 21-year-old Jessica, a final-year student at Queen's University Belfast.

"But there have obviously been cuts and children are not getting the [same] access to education."

Jessica believes the key issues are funding and not having enough teachers.

She's also not a fan of tuition fees. "It's a scary prospect that my future is dictated by debt hanging over me," she says.

She knows people who have studies five days a week, and are working six days a week, just to be able to afford where they live at university.

"What are you getting? Twelve hours contact time a week and crippling debt. Even just lowering them - going back to £3,000 per year - would be enough," she says.

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