Image may contain: People, Accessory, Glasses, Accessories, Jacket, Audience, Crowd, Suit, Overcoat, Coat, Person, Human, Apparel, Clothing

Lib Dems pledge to improve uni mental health services in manifesto

Finally giving back to students wow

The Lib Dems have announced they'll force unis to improve student mental health services, in their newly-released election manifesto.

Jo Swinson's party also say they'll bring back maintenance grants in their policy mixtape.

However, they only mention university four times in a 100 page document dubbed "Jo Swinson's Plan For Britain's Future".

Image may contain: Audience, Apparel, Clothing, Face, Text, Crowd, Word, Person, Human

The document also touches on calling a second referendum and legalising weed. The Lib Dems reckon we'll get a "Remain Bonus" of £14.3bn.

The Lib Dems are having a mini-renaissance among students, with a quarter of respondents to The Tab's snap election poll saying they were planning to vote Lib Dem. However, four in 10 still say they're voting Labour.

Of interest for students are two points of the manifesto's education section, where the Lib Dems make pledges on mental health and maintenance grants.

"Require universities to make mental health services accessible to their students, and introduce a Student Mental Health Charter through legislation," the manifesto says.

They join Labour in promising to bring back maintenance grants for students, pledging to "reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students, ensuring that living costs are not a barrier to disadvantaged young people studying at university." In their costings, the party say this will cost £940 million.

The manifesto promises a review into higher education funding. The Lib Dems also plan to give every adult £10,000 to spend on education or training, as part of their education focus on ensuring university isn't the be-all and end-all.

Perhaps having learned their lesson, the Lib Dems steer clear of the tuition fees issue.

On their weed policy, the Lib Dems say they'll "help to break the grip of the criminal gangs by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis. We will introduce limits on the potency levels and permit cannabis to be sold through licensed outlets to adults over the age of 18." They estimate this will raise £1.49bn by 2024/25.

Claire Sosienski Smith, NUS Vice President for Higher Education, said: "There is much we welcome in the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto, but also many areas we think need further attention. It is promising that they have recognised the value of retraining through their proposed ‘skills wallet’ and greater funding for further education that would go someway towards increasing lifelong education in the post-16 system.

"However we do not need another review into higher education finance to tell us that the system must be reformed. The Liberal Democrats need to address the mistakes that they made during the coalition years that have left students straddled with enormous debts. We need a new education system that is truly lifelong, accessible and funded.

"It is promising to see that they have listened to our calls to reintroduce maintenance grants in higher education but it is disappointing that they have not committed to providing specific proposals to address the crisis in recruitment to nursing and healthcare courses. It is also of significant concern that they have ignored the problem of spiralling accommodation costs."

Related stories recommended by this writer:

620,000 young people have registered to vote since the election was called

40 per cent of students are planning to vote for Labour, according to our poll

This is who students are voting for in the General Election

Featured image: SWNS