GUEST COLUMN: EU referendum is one of most important votes in generations, by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero

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The EU Referendum is now only a month away and the coverage in the media is certainly extensive.

While it may be tempting to try to ignore the debate, it is worth considering that this is one of the most important votes that this country has had for several generations.

Whether you are in favour of Brexit or keen that we remain in the EU, it is only by exercising your right to vote that will make your opinion matter.

In my role as shadow minister for young people and voter registration I have been working hard to get across the message that it is vital that people sign themselves up on the electoral register and go out and vote.

In Ashfield, the number of people who will have turned 18 and are on the electoral register dropped by nine per cent between December 1, 2014 and December 1, 2015. Meanwhile polls have also suggested that young people are less likely to vote than older people. The result of the referendum will have long term effects that will affect younger people more than any of us. It is so important that they get out and have their say on their future.

You may have passed the rather smart looking menswear boutique Sauce and Brown if you ever travel down Forest Road in Annesley. I recently visited the shop and was really impressed with the work that local lads Andrew Frogson and Anthony Wallis have done. They sell limited edition shirts and t-shirts with an emphasis on high quality fashion forward pieces.

Sauce and Brown has just picked up the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award at the recent Mansfield 2020 business awards and I am so pleased for them: it is fantastic to see an Ashfield business doing so well. Congratulations to Andrew and Anthony.

Last week saw the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech setting out the work the Government plans to do.

This Conservative government claims to be trying to build a more equal society but in reality, this simply is not true.

By insisting on implementing austerity measures, the Tories are repeatedly hitting those who can least afford it.

Cuts to social care funding results in higher attendances at A&E, saddling young people with debt makes it harder for them to get on the housing ladder and slashing local authority budgets means that we lose libraries, children’s centres and local charities. When will they understand that such cuts are a choice, not a necessity?