We Need Young Activists to Help Drive Our Policy Development and Prepare for Government

Angela Rayner writes her pitch to Young Fabians ahead of the Labour Party ballots.

The Young Fabians and other youth groups of our party breathe life into what we do, from campaigning to training, and developing policy in new and innovative ways.

But young members aren’t just a resource to be used, they are the next generation of the movement. That is why young members of the party and our affiliates should be a driving force in what we do and how we do it. As Deputy Leader, I would always support you in being part of the policy making process as well in organising yourselves.

As Shadow Education Secretary I have always spoken about diversity in education, including access to education for adult learners, BAME communities and those with different kinds of educational backgrounds. We need to reshape our country to value broad experiences, from a world class university education to skills learnt on vocational courses and everything in between. With the right investment and support, I believe the next Labour government can offer everyone an education fit for the future.

I believe in principle that all education should be free and this goes as much for further and adult education as it does for a university degree. As well as scrapping fees, we need to provide maintenance support, to help those most in need to focus on studying not where their rent will come from next month. I was especially proud of our plans for the early years, where intervention makes the greatest difference. Our Sure Start Plus programme, along with high quality nursery education for all, would have transformed lives as Labour’s original Sure Start transformed mine.

But to achieve that, we must be in government. My role as Deputy Leader will be to unite, organise and win. I will champion all the parts of our party. Nothing makes me prouder of our movement than when I see the belief young people have in our ability to make change. When we work together, we are at our strongest. The Young Fabians have produced some of the great thought of the Labour Party, often leading on issues we now think of as core to our values. Today, I challenge you to do the same after the Leader and Deputy Leadership elections and I commit myself to hear your challenges.

My background is not the traditional one for a politician, but it taught me to value anyone willing to stand up for what they believe in. I hope the next Labour Government will be born in this leadership election, and I hope that the Young Fabian contribution to this will be the driving our ideas as much as our campaigns.

Angela Rayner has served as Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne since 2015. 

She tweets at @AngelaRayner

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