Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has warned “if Britain leaves the Europe, it will be young people who suffer the most”.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast on 29th March, Morgan argued that the younger generation are already struggling to find jobs as companies are suspending vacancies until the EU referendum result is announced on the 23rd June.
She also highlighted the international nature of young people’s lives – “the generation of Instagram, Easyjet and eBay. They don’t want to see Britain cut off from the world…Young people today want to see the UK working internationally”.
In a related vein, Morgan cautioned older voters in favour of voting to leave the European Union to take the younger generation into consideration when placing their vote. “If parents and grandparents vote to leave, they’ll be voting to gamble with their children and grandchildren’s future.
“At a time when people are rightly concerned about inter-generational fairness, the most unfair decision the older generation could make would be to take Britain out of Europe and damage the ability of young people to get on in life”.
However, her comments conflict with official figures on job vacancies released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which has reported that the number of vacancies between December and February was in fact marginally higher than it had been during the previous three months.
Equally, neither the ONS, nor the jobs website Adzuna, which compiles monthly indexes of job vacancies, have suggested that there is a link between the upcoming referendum and the number of vacancies.
Nevertheless, the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs has backed Morgan’s views, with Chief Executive Johnny Luk corroborating: “We have the best of both worlds. We do not need to bail out any Eurozone countries, we have our own currency and have a strong stay in an important member’s club”.
In contrast, Vote Leave’s spokesman, Robert Oxley, criticised the Education Secretary claiming that her words were blind support for Cameron’s campaign to remain In. According to the spokesperson, Morgan is “so willing to do down the chances of young people as part of Number 10’s desperate bid to win the referendum. The EU has not been good for young people, driving up costs and forcing down wages”.
If one thing is for certain it is that young people have the ability to tip the balance of votes in the referendum. A recent poll conducted by the Observer has revealed that 53 per cent of those aged 18-34 will vote to remain in the EU, whereas only 38 per cent of those aged 35-54, and 30 per cent of those aged over 55, will vote to remain.
Therefore, if there is a low turnout of young voters, it is likely that the eventual result will be a ‘Brexit’, propelled by the disproportionate number of middle-aged and elderly voters in comparison to their younger counterparts.