Investing in education and training will be a key vote winner at the forthcoming Norwich North by-election, new research commissioned by the UCU (University and College Union) has revealed.
It might be early days when it comes to the Norwich North by-election but the Labour candidate is the only one yet to be selected and locally rumours are flying around about a late July polling day.
There are many university and college staff and students in Norwich North and as the recession kicks in, more people are placing education and training (or retraining) at the top of the political agenda.
The poll shows that a third (34%) of people in the constituency would be more likely to vote for a party if committed to spending extra on education. Over three-quarters (77%) of constituents said that providing affordable access to education and training was important in helping Norwich and the country beat the recession, while four-fifths (82%) called for every local person who met entry standards to be entitled to a free place at a local college or university.
The voting intentions are closer than many people expected with Labour just 4 points behind the Conservatives.
The Greens seem to have made big gains since their showing in the 2005 general election; it will be interesting to see how their vote interacts with Labour and the Lib Dems (the Lib Dems and Greens entered into a public spat only hours after the Lib Dem candidate was selected). The poll of 504 people came out:
Con 34% (+1)
Lab 30% (-15)
LD 15% (-1)
Green 14% (+11)
Other 7% (+4)
There are cuts happening across the country left, right and centre. They are happening in higher education and further education. Student places are being capped and graduates who leave university today (with substantial debt) are far from guaranteed a job.
With increasing youth and graduate unemployment, students who won’t find university places this year and adult learners who want to retrain but do not have access to courses it is no surprise that education in Norwich will be an issue in the by-election.