How do you plan to respond to the growing prevalence of unpaid internships, including parliamentary internships? What is your view on unpaid internships, placements and work experience in relation to the law and to National Minimum Wage rules? How will you ensure that internships are open to all, rather than to those who are in a position to work for free?
David Cameron's answer:
"On the specific point about politics and Parliament, we need to remember that political parties are primarily voluntary organisations, so they do depend very much on volunteers. Of course, it’s crucial that people who are keen to get involved are not taken advantage of and have the right chances to move into paid employment. But I’d warn against doing anything heavy-handed which stops volunteers offering their help.
But there’s no doubt that we do need make it easier for people from all backgrounds to get involved – especially in Parliament. There are barriers at the moment blocking people from disadvantaged backgrounds and we need to get rid of them. My Shadow Cabinet and I have been working with a charity called the Social Mobility Foundation on a fantastic project to help provide placements for under-privileged students in Parliament and other sectors, and we’ve been able to give work experience and volunteering positions in our private offices to kids who might never have had a chance before.
But there is also a wider point here, connected to the big problem of youth unemployment here in the UK. It’s unbelievable that here we are, the sixth richest country in the world, and one in five young people don’t have a job. We’ve got to get job market moving and help more young people get started in careers.
One really exciting idea we have is to create thousands of new “work-pairings”. These work-pairings would allow young people who are unemployed and stuck on benefits at the moment to go out and get some real business experience – while keeping their benefits and also earning a small income at the same time. It’s a great idea, because it will fix the big problem we’ve got at the moment where thousands of young people don’t have jobs, but also don’t have the experience they need to make themselves attractive to employers. If we win this election, getting this scheme started is a big priority for me and my team."
With many students living independently of their parents, why should student finance depend on their income? Why not be fair, and give everyone an equal platform in which to start their education, giving everyone the same amount of money? Then the rest that they need they can supplement from external sources i.e. a job/overdraft/family.
David Cameron's answer:
"Everyone with the right ambition and ability should have the opportunity to go to university if they choose to, irrespective of their background or wealth. But it’s also right that people who benefit from a university education should contribute towards the cost of their degree. So I think the current system is right in principle: fees are set by individual universities; loans are provided to cover the cost of fees and living expenses; and those loans are repaid only after you graduate and start earning a certain salary. That is the right approach. But there clearly are lots of problems with the current system too – universities say they’re underfunded, students are worried about debt, and people from disadvantaged backgrounds are missing out. I hope the system can be changed so these people can get a better deal. Ultimately, our goal has to be a system where anyone with the right ability and ambition gets the help they need to go to university, regardless of their background or family income. A system where the amount of help available depends on what you need is probably the right way to go."
To what extent do you view university as a place for personal development and interest, learning and beginning research compared to providing training for the business world or world of work?
David Cameron's answer:
"I think it’s a mixture of the two. A big part of the experience is about making friends, having a good time, learning independence. But it’s also obviously about what you do once you leave. It’s worrying that graduate unemployment is so high at the moment. I think we need to do more to help students get more out of their investment in their education – because it is a massive investment for most people – and more to help them find good jobs after they graduate. One way we can achieve this is by putting a lot more information online about how students rate their courses, figures on how many have found employment, how long it took them and what the average earnings for graduates in different subjects is. David Willetts, my Shadow Universities Minister, has been developing a website which will provide young people with this kind of information. It should help prospective students choose a place to study that won’t just be a good time but a good bet for a good job afterwards too."
There's been an unprecedented transfer of wealth from the young to the old over recent years – unsustainable pensions that won’t be available for our generation, huge house price rises and vastly increased healthcare spending primarily for older people – and this is likely to get worse as the baby boomers retire and there will be far fewer workers to pensioners. Do you think this is fair and what will you do, if anything, to address this?
David Cameron's answer:
"I understand this argument. But I want the younger generation to have hope for the future. We have to ensure that more young people are given the chance to make the most of their lives. That means more good schools with smaller classes and excellent teachers, more university places, more apprenticeships and training places – 400,000 more, to be specific – and targeted support to help get people off benefits and into meaningful work. As a country, we also need to make some difficult choices to make us all more prosperous, across the generations in the long run: cutting waste and paying off debt, finding new ways to pay for social care, encouraging people to save more and reviewing the way that public sector pensions are funded. Finally, we need specific policies to help young people get on the housing ladder and pay the bills – like our plans to abolish stamp duty for nine out of ten first-time buyers and to freeze council tax for two years."
Will you reconsider the Digital Economy Bill considering the manner it was pushed through, without proper scrutiny, the lack of MPs in attendance at the Bill’s hearing and also taking into account that some ministers have demonstrated considerable lack of technical knowledge on the consequences of the proposed legislation?
David Cameron's answer:
"It’s wrong that this Bill didn’t get the scrutiny it deserved. But rejecting the Bill then or reconsidering the entire piece of legislation now would be an unacceptable set-back for the important measures it contains. Copyline infringement and internet piracy, for example, need to be addressed. So my party took the decision to seek to remove those clauses of the Digital Economy Bill that we did not support or feel received proper legislative scrutiny, while supporting the legislation as a whole. I’m confident that the way the legislation is drafted, thanks to Conservative amendments, means that we are by no means rushing in to action. For instance, the measures to tackle illegal peer-to-peer file sharing means that the temporary suspension of people’s internet connection would only follow public consultation and repeated warnings."
For some time now, monetary policies have been made independently by the Bank of England, which stops decisions on these policies from being politically biased, thus preventing such situations as interest rates being modified unfavourably simply to garner votes. Similarly, are there any other areas of decision-making you feel would be best delegated to an independent body instead of remaining under government control (i.e. an independent drugs advisory committee) whereby these policies could then be decided free from political bias?
David Cameron's answer:
"There are already lots of areas where decisions are taken by independent bodies. In some cases, like the independence of the Bank of England, this is right and sensible. In other cases, there’s too much unaccountability and bureaucratic control. We should judge each one by a simple test: does it provide a technical, impartiality, or transparency function which would be put into jeopardy if it came under political control? The independence of the Bank of England falls into that category. So also do things like the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and the Research Councils. In one or two other areas, we also need to create new independent bodies which exist at the moment. One good example is our proposed Office for Budget Responsibility that will produce the country’s budget forecasts and a full audit of the national balance sheet – and ensure that no government will ever be able to bankrupt our country again."
How and to what extent will your party continue to fight for LGBT equality/issues? How much of a real priority is this for your party?
David Cameron's answer:
"We’re totally committed to the fight for gay equality and we will never let the fight for real and substantive gay equality die. I’m really proud of that moment, in my first Conference speech as Party leader, when I said that commitment matters, whether it’s between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and a man. And since then, we’ve worked very hard to change our Party so that we better represent our country and so that we are much more open to people from gay and bisexual backgrounds. So if you look around the country at this election, you’ll see that we’ve got some brilliant gay and lesbian candidates standing as Conservatives – and they’re fighting for really winnable seats.
And to those who have concerns about a Conservative government, I would say look at our policies: not only will we keep civil partnerships, we will recognize them in the tax system; not only will we keep the existing legislation on gay equality, but we will improve it by banishing those anomalies which mean that people who were convicted under old legislation for consensual gay sex still have those offences on their criminal records; and not only will we give head teachers more power to exclude homophobic bullies from the classroom, we would also change government guidance to make it clear that bullying aggravated by prejudice – including homophobic bullying – should result in tougher punishments.
Above all, I would say look at the values which are driving our election campaign. We are fighting this election to bring about a new way of doing politics, built on the idea that we’re all in this together. Inequality of any kind undermines this idea. It’s the direct opposite of the values of togetherness and responsibility we believe our country needs today. That’s why a Conservative government won’t settle for a country where some people are locked out or shut off on the basis of the sexuality. We’re all in this together, and it’s only by working together we can build a better and fairer and more equal country."
Recent discussions with regard to the cuts that need to be made to recover the national deficit has highlighted (by all parties) the scientific research budget as one of the places where cuts will take place.
I, like many others, believe that science is one of the key ways to bring us out of the economical situation we are in by reducing our dependence on banks. Simultaneously, won’t this result in a brain drain from the UK? What are your views on this, and what are your party policies on scientific research funding?
David Cameron's answer:
"Yes, the deficit will have to be cut. But it’s hugely important that we don’t undermine our science base. If our economy’s going to grow then we have to stay competitive in fields like IT, engineering, biotechnology and medical research. That’s why it’s really worrying that small research institutes seem to be among the hardest hit by the Government’s cuts to university funding. We’ve got a number of specific policies to support UK science. We’d provide a multi-year science budget – ring-fenced over a spending period – to give researchers the stable funding they need to make long-term investments. We would postpone the Government’s new system for allocating research funding, which many academics are worried could undermine their research, and work with them to develop an alternative system. We’ve also pledged real terms rises in the NHS budget, from which significant research and scientific training are funded. We would do more to help businesses invest in science and research, including reforming R&D tax credits and building stronger links between universities and businesses. We would work to improve the way that science is taught in schools, including offering every graduate with a good degree in maths or a rigorous science subject from a good university the chance to have their student loan paid off in its entirety if they become a teacher. And we would work to bring in extra funding for universities from new sources – for example by introducing an early repayment discount on student loans, which would bring in an extra £300m for universities without adding to the deficit."
I don't trust the conservatives. There is something that is so wrong about them. The question about gay rights, what a load of b/s. Cameron campaigned against gay adoption and my local tory candidate campaigned heavily against gay rights. I also read somewhere (I can't remember which newspaper, just google it) a few months back that the gay rigths campaigner for the torys left and joined the labour party because she believed that Cameron was being deceitful when it came to his views on gay rights and that she believed that the party was still, very much a homophobic party.
Cameron is the only guy who has actually answered my question. Surprisingly. Although I don't think he's really considered what I was trying to say, he talks about all those from disadvantaged backgrounds having equal opportunities, but why do none of them realise that many people get no funding from their parents even though they earn lots, therefore get hardly any money? It's a bigger problem than they realise.
Q1: Good answer
Q2: misinterpreted it, as all the others did
Q3: the most useful information would be on how employers view courses compared to different ones. All the information that he states are available online at the moment.
Q4: neglected the bullingdon club :P
Q6: says both yes and no to the DEB. They're ultimately for it.
Q7: Parah darling, parah. No this is fine.
Q8: Some people feeling that using unelected bodies is highly undemocratic, nobody elects them and they can sometimes become "jobs for the boys". Although the question didn't cover this perspective, it's been largely ignored.
Q9: No mention of transgender rights. The conservative party's demographic has hardly changed since 2002 when section 28 was repealed. Personally I don't believe a word they say on it anyway.
Q10: ring-fencing means savage cuts everywhere else
Fair play David, fair play. I think you actually attempted to answer the questions in front of you rather than remember a bit of your policy and then spew your spiel like Brown and Clegg did to an extent.
hmm, answers are ok though I see his answer to Q4 is lacking...
Only thing is it seems he wants less change then the other parties. Obviously it is all rhetoric anyway, but it sounds like he'll leave Uni fees alone bar letting individual Unis charge as they wish. He'll leave the digital fail bill alone and I'm pretty sure there's something else that read to me he wouldn't change it.
Kind of dodged Q5 to me
not bad, but I expected a little more in depth answers to explain his "change".
Half his questions had very little substance. He didnt seem to actually answer the question of how he is going to deal with the issue. The change he wants is becoming less apparent. suprised at his comment on LGBT when most of the tories were against things like civil partnerships or them being able to adopt.