Liz Truss makes pitch to win over young voters who are ‘going off Corbyn’
Liz Truss has insisted Jeremy Corbyn is losing his appeal among Britain's youth as she called on young voters to back the Conservatives at the next general election.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the perception of 18 to 24-year-olds as “sandal-wearing Corbynistas” was wrong as she called for greater investment in superfast broadband and new houses to woo that age group.
Polls suggest that some 60% of 18 to 24-year-olds backed Labour at the 2017 snap election, compared with around 20% who voted Conservative.
But amid mounting speculation of another election to break the Brexit impasse, Ms Truss will tell an audience in Leeds on Friday that young voters are the “least loyal” to the Labour leader.
“Young people are going off Jeremy Corbyn even faster than his own MPs are,” she will say. “This is the most self-starting, business minded generation ever, and all Corbyn offers is high taxes and more state control.
“Conservatives have cut taxes and made it easier to start a business. It’s Conservatives, not Labour, that will help young people fulfil their ambition and turbocharge the economy as we leave the EU.”
Ms Truss will cite an 85% jump in the number of entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 24 compared to 2015.
“We now have an army of high achievers brimming with ambition, and with the drive to shape their own futures,” she will say. “We’re told by Labour that they’re all sandal-wearing Corbynistas, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Research shows the young are more interested in making money than older generations and are less likely to support higher taxes.
“And it’s Conservatives, not the red-flag-waving Marxists, that are helping them succeed.”
Ms Truss will also cite “tougher” exams put in place by recent Tory governments as a sign the group are “far from snowflakes” but "are shaking things up".
Elsewhere she said ministers need to show Brexit can work for young people, with a call to “turn up the heat of competition” to boost house-building as the number of young people buying their home dwindles.
“We need to keep an eye on regulation. We need to ensure standards, while allowing individuals and businesses to be independent, embrace risk and reward, and enjoy all the benefits that come with it," she will add.
“The state is not always the answer to our modern problems – and it’s precisely the opposite of what the new generation want. They want to be free, not shackled by stifling regulation which is good at keeping order, but not so good at delivering a dynamic and exciting economy."
The minister’s pitch to Labour voters was matched by Theresa May’s announcement that pregnant women would now get up to six months’ redundancy protection when they go back to work - instead of two weeks.
It followed a series of meetings with senior trade union leaders in Downing Street, held in a bid to win their support for her Brexit deal.
“People in this country already benefit from some of the most rigorous workplace standards in the world,” she said.
“But we are determined to do even more as we leave the EU.
“It’s unacceptable that too many parents still encounter difficulties when returning to work.
“Today’s proposals are set to provide greater protection for new parents in the workplace, and put their minds at ease at this important time.”