UK Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has emphasised the benefits of EU membership, and warned of a possible “lost generation” in the UK should it choose to leave the union.
Speaking at The Fashion Retail Academy in London, Morgan said that EU membership gives young British people a global perspective, helping refine and improve skills and that the EU allows more opportunity for young UK workers.
She pointed to the examples of Greece and Spain, where after the Great Recession, youth unemployment skyrocketed because of economic turmoil, and that although the UK was recovering from the crisis, a Brexit could devastate the economy.
“That’s the simple reason why tackling youth employment and making sure young people have the education and skills to get a job has been at the heart of our long term economic plan”, she said.
Morgan tied the economic recovery to the increase in youth employment: “A vote to leave the European Union would put all of that progress, and young people’s future prospects at risk.”
She also quoted CBI (The Confederation of British Industry) research that found up to 950,000 jobs could be lost by 2020 if the UK left the EU.
Focusing on positive aspects of EU membership, Nicky Morgan said that the opportunites to travel, work, and study in the European Union gave young people valuable skills and options.
In addition, she cited EU students adding to the UK economy through student fees.
“… students from other EU countries who choose to study here generate around £2.27 billion for the UK economy, supporting around 19,000 jobs.”
Nicky Morgan praises EU social accountability
Not just focusing on economic and education benefits, Morgan praised the EU for increasing workers’ rights across the continent. She stated that gender and LGBT equality were high on the EU’s agenda, as well as developing environmental and poverty concerns that the EU was much more effective at tackling than a divided continent.
“On these issues, issues which young people don’t just care about, but expect us to be making a difference on, our role in Europe allows us to achieve real change and improve the lives of vulnerable people and groups around the world.”
Finally, Nicky Morgan said she was aware that young people typically have a low turnout when voting, and implored them not only to register to vote, but also to inform their families about why the EU is important to young people in the UK.
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