Working abroad. Why the Lib Dems offer greater opportunities to the young

20 Apr 2024
Motar boards in the air

Wherever you look the Conservative and Labour policies seem to be merging into an indistinguishable splodge!. So as not to scare electors Labour have walked back on green investment, accepted Tory public spending limits ( even though all independent observers say these imply massive cuts in future services) and basically accepted the disastrous Tory Brexit deal which a vast majority of voters now accept has damaged our economy and increased prices.

In that context it is interesting to see the reaction of both parties to a proposal made recently by the European Union

They suggested we jointly agree a 'youth mobility' scheme that would let 18- to 30-year-olds  move anywhere across the EU, for up to four years for work, travel or study.

Under the proposals young people would pay domestic rates for university tuition fees rather than the higher ones usually charged to foreign students, and would be exempted from paying a healthcare surcharge imposed on other migrants.

There would be no limit to the number allowed in under the scheme, which could help fill staffing shortages in restaurants or care homes.

European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said: "The United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union has hit young people in the EU and the UK who would like to study, work and live abroad particularly hard.

"Today, we take the first step towards an ambitious but realistic agreement between the EU and the UK that would fix this issue. Our aim is to rebuild human bridges between young Europeans on both sides of the Channel."

And the reaction of our political parties.

The Tories rejected the proposal. Given the threat of Reform pinching their Brexit voters that was perhaps inevitable.

Surprisingly Labour also rejected the idea

Only the Liberal Democrats welcomed the proposal

Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Expanding our existing youth mobility visas to cover European countries on a reciprocal basis would be a win-win.

“It would be a much-needed boost to our economy, especially hospitality and tourism; it would offer great new opportunities to young British people to work abroad; and it would be a crucial step towards fixing our broken relationship with Europe.

“Of course, the details would need to be negotiated, but no UK government should reject this idea out of hand.”

It really is time to get past the old Brexit arguments and give our young people opportunities to work and study more easily in Europe. The time limited proposal was a great way of re-building some of the links lost by the deal signed by Boris Johnson without re-introducing widescale free movement. We should not deny our young people life chances for doctrinaire reasons

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