General election: quick ways you can help us campaign
30 May 2024

General election: quick ways you can help us campaign 

We know it's one of the worst times for members to support our campaigning during this general election, as it falls in summer 

But prospective MPs take far more notice of their potential electors than a trade associationas Andy Carter MP said during our manifesto launch: 'Everyone is listening at the moment – that only happens every four or five years and they will welcome the opportunity to listen to you.'

So, if you can help us at all, we'd be very grateful. We know it's not the ideal time, but this is important 

Getting in touch 

  • Focus on the candidates most likely to win in your constituency (find out who they are here) and write to them using the template email we sent via email on Wednesday 29 May
  • Encourage staff members and homestay hosts to get in touch with candidates – homestay hosts might be particularly interested in our campaign to uplift rent-a-room relief 
  • Invite the frontrunner candidate to visit your centre at the start or end of the day to learn more about what you do and why they should support an industry which helps the local community 
  • If candidates visit, explain the value of ELT to the local community and give some examples of how some simple tweaks can help revitalise the industry
  • Look out for meet-the-candidate events where you can ask questions
  • Consider offering to host a hustings event at your centre one evening if you have physical and staff capacity, to help raise awareness

Get your message out there 

Contact local media, including radio stations, newspapers and websites,  about what you would like to see from the next government in order to support our industry, mentioning some or all of the manifesto recommendations. Use as many examples as you can of how your local community benefits from your centre, whether that's for homestay hosts, school staff or local businesses. 

If your radio station has a phone-in show, use it.  

What to say to Parliamentary candidates

We are focusing on three of the manifesto's six recommendations, which we think have more resonance with politicians and the general public. Below are talking points on those, but if you feel strongly about our other manifesto recommendations, feel free to mention those.  

Useful facts: Before Covid and Brexit, the UK ELT industry was worth £1.5bn, supported over 35,000 jobs and attracted more students than any of our competitor destinations. In 2023, our most recent figures, we had recovered 76% of those student numbers and 71% of business volume (student weeks). With simple, targeted support we could do so much more.

1.  Expand the Youth Mobility Scheme to expand career-enhancing travel opportunities for young people. Enabling young people to live, study, and work in a different country for up to three years, widening YMS agreements to more countries would not only allow more enthusiastic people to come to our centres in the UK but also give British youth opportunities to learn a foreign language and work overseas.  

Discuss furthering YMS deals with countries where the process has begun (including Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina) and consider others such as Thailand and Malaysia). Can the candidate push for the EU Commission's offer of an EU-wide youth mobility scheme allowing young Brits to work in all 27 countries? The youth vote is very important, particularly if a Labour government gives the right to vote to 16-year-olds. You could also mention Erasmus+.

2.  Extend ID card travel for groups of under-18s from the EU. The Tourism Alliance says school groups coming to the UK were worth £28.6bn annually until passports were required; now, many groups are going elsewhere. The problem is that groups will not choose the UK if one child or more has no passport or if a third-country national requires a visa. The British-French agreements on ID card travel for school groups is a start but needs to be widened to other EU nations including Germany, Spain and the Benelux countries. Could the candidate pledge to raise this with the new government if they are elected? 

3.  Increase rent-a-room relief. Since the pandemic, there has been a major shortage of accommodation for ELT students – BONARD's recent survey of English UK members showed 64% of respondents had restricted their student enrolment because of accommodation shortages, and one in three was unable to meet accommodation preferences. Raising rent-a-room relief from £7,500 to £10,000 – the first rise since 2016 - would not only help with student accommodation but also the local rental market while supporting household income during the cost of living crisis.  

Our campaigning toolkit has more ideas



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