Words by Nik Taylor
Labour leader Ed Miliband joined us on The Student Room earlier today to answer your questions on tuition fees, mental health, renewable energy, the war on drugs and plenty more besides.


Read on to find out what he had to say, or catch up on the whole of the Ed Miliband Q&A session here.


Labour leader Ed Miliband joined us on The Student Room earlier today to answer your questions on tuition fees, the war on drugs, mental health, renewable energy and plenty more besides.


TSR member Tyrion_Lannister asked: "would you bring in policies to either increase the mental health budget, or to combat stigma and discrimination?"


"Great question. We have said we will change the NHS constitution to give proper rights to those suffering from mental health issues. But we also need to change the culture outside the NHS: from schools to businesses to properly understand the importance of mental health. I was at a fantastic launch ten days ago of Mind Full, a new mental health charity for young people."


TSR member MattFletcher asked: "What are your views on Michael Gove's proposed changes to the education system?"


"The problem is that Michael Gove has an old-fashioned view of education: he doesn't seem to understand the importance of creativity, and he seems to have contempt for vocational qualifications. We need a curriculum which properly understands the importance of art, design and creativity and gives a proper route for those who want to do high quality vocational courses and then go into apprenticeships."


Read up on the whole of our Ed Miliband Q&A session


TSR member tinkertailor asked: "Mr Miliband, will you reverse the tuition fee rise?"


"I understand why this has been so controversial and the fear of students being put off going to university. We said in 2011 that we wanted to reduce tuition fees to £6,000 including by asking the highest earning graduates to pay more. We will set out our policy for the next Labour government in the manifesto. But we must ensure that anyone, from whatever background with the right qualifications, feels they can get to university."





TSR member nebelbon asked about Labour's plans around renewable energy.


"I am a supporter of onshore and offshore wind [power]. The reality is that to meet the absolutely enormous challenge of climate change, we need nuclear, wind, solar, clean coal...all the technologies. The problem with this government is that their indecision and delay is costing us jobs, deterring investors and is bad for our energy supply. One example: we have said we should take the carbon out of our electricity supply by 2030. The government has refused to adopt this."


TSR member Kayleigh.wenham3 asked: "do you actually plan on reversing any of the Tory reforms such as Gove's education acts, privitisation of the NHS or bedroom tax?"


"We will set out our plans at the election on all the key issues, including the ones you mention. To give you an example, on the NHS, we have said we will repeal the Health and Social Care Bill because it puts the wrong values at the heart of the NHS: driven by markets and competition not compassion and co-operation."


TSR member kevey320 asked about the potential introduction of a 10p starting rate in income tax.


"On 10p tax, we have said we want to have a mansion tax on homes above £2 million to fund a new 10p starting rate of income tax. The contrast I would draw is with this government that is cutting taxes for the richest in society at a time when everybody else is seeing their living standards fall."



TSR member the-black-lotus asked: "would you support lowering the voting age to 16?"


"Yes. Our democracy needs the voices of those aged 16 and 17 and if you can work and pay taxes, join the army, I think the right to vote is important. Of course, it would have to be accompanied by proper citizenship education in schools. Just imagine if 16 and 17 year-olds had been able to vote when the government got rid of the EMA...."


TSR member hanisreg asked: "Why would young people get involved in politics when their voices are very clearly not being heard?"


"[The] key thing is that politicians shouldn't over-promise because it just increases cynicism. But we need to show young people they have a positive future: jobs, education, being able to rent or buy a home. All these things feel pretty distant for so many young people. And my theme of One Nation is about using the talents of every single young person in the country. It's the only way we can succeed as a country."


TSR member Fullofsurprises asked: "How were your student years? You became JCR President in your first year at Corpus Christi. Was this part of a plan, or did the politics of your home background inspire you to be an activist from the start?"


"Not part of a plan. Home background was important. My parents really taught me in a good way to care about the world and to see that politics could make a difference."


TSR member DaveSmith99 asked: "Is there any reason for not adopting a drug policy that focuses on harm reduction and helping drug users rather than criminalising them?"


"I agree there is a massive challenge in dissuading people from getting into drugs. But I don't think legalisation is the answer. Because I think it sends out the wrong message about the harmful effect of drugs."


TSR member clarabelle1975 asked "If you were prime minister, how would you implement education policies to encourage school leavers to enter teacher training?"


"We need to celebrate what a difference that great teachers can make. Today I am meeting one of my former teachers, Chris Dunne, on his last day at Langdon Park School. And we need to raise the status of teaching, including with a new Royal College of Teaching to give proper support to teachers and ensure high quality teaching."


TSR member Galileo Galilei asked: "Do you have any tips for anyone who would like to pursue a career in politics in the future?"


"Good question to end on and sorry not to have time for more. My advice is to get involved with the political party you sympathise with. We need the voices of more young people in our politics. Become a party member, a councillor and an MP. Obviously, I want it to be Labour, but the biggest danger for our country is people turning off politics. So whatever party it is, please get involved."


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