Population Matters

Election 2017 – put population on the political agenda

Election 2017 – put population on the political agenda

The general election in the UK on 8 June offers an opportunity to push population up the political agenda of the next parliament. Population Matters is calling on all candidates and parties to support policies to reduce population growth globally and ensure the UK reaches a stable and sustainable population size as soon as possible.

Take Action

This page outlines Population Matters’ asks of politicians in the run up to the election and provides a sample letter and details of how to contact parliamentary candidates.

Population Matters Policy Recommendations

Our principal call is for the next government to adopt a comprehensive National Population Policy which will integrate all relevant government activities to bring population to a sustainable level. In addition, in light of recent threats and developments, we also call on candidates and political parties to commit to a series of specific policies.

National Population Policy

The critical present and future impact of population growth requires a coordinated and integrated policy approach by government. The UK should adopt a National Population Policy to:

  • Accurately determine future population growth in the UK and what factors and policies will affect it
  • Assess the impact of population on other policy fields (such as  climate change targets and public services) and integrate population policy into those areas
  • Set targets for ending population growth and stabilising population at a sustainable level
  • Develop an integrated policy framework to meet these targets, including through reducing the birth rate and reducing net migration
  • Ensure the UK takes positive, effective action through aid and intergovernmental activity to support stabilising the global population

More information about the National Population Policy

Increase overseas aid for family planning and education

Population Matters supports protection of the existing policy that the overseas aid budget should be 0.7% of national GDP. That money must be used in the most effective way possible and reducing family size and population growth is a vital and effective long term measure for moving countries out of poverty.  Increased levels of aid should be provided for education and family planning in developing countries with high fertility rates. 200 million women worldwide have an unmet need for contraception, while length of education has a direct correlation with reduction in family size in developing countries.

More information about overseas aid

Adequate funding for effective family planning in England

Recent central government cuts in public health budgets in England are having a significant impact on the provision of family planning services. One-in-six of all pregnancies in the UK are unplanned. Because of the requirement for specially trained staff, highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptives (such as intra-uterine devices and implants) are especially at risk. These cuts must be reversed and adequate funding must be provided to meet needs. (Please only raise with your PPC if you are in an English constituency.)

More information about family planning funding

High quality, universal Sex and Relationships Education in the UK

In May 2017, the Children and Social Work Act was passed, which requires that all school children should have sex and relationships education (SRE). The Act extended the previous requirement for SRE from just local authority schools to all schools. However, regulations and guidance implementing the act were not able to be introduced before the election.  It is essential that implementing legislation and guidance ensures all children receive suitable, high-quality SRE allowing them to make informed choices. The UK currently has the highest level of teenage births in Western Europe.

More information about Sex and Relationships Education

Further resources

Key facts on population in the UK
Key facts on global population

Identifying Prospective Parliamentary Candidates

You can search for Prospective Parliamentary Candidates in your constituency on the BBC website, here. The list does not contain contact details but you may be able to find these through a Google search or by contacting their political parties.

Conservative Party
Democratic Unionists
Green Party
Labour Party
Liberal Democrat
Plaid Cymru
Sinn Fein
Scottish National Party
UKIP 

NOTE: Other parties are currently represented in the UK Parliament and/or are standing in the election. Population Matters is a registered charity which supports no party or candidates in the UK election.  

Sample letter

Duplicate letters or emails which have the same content as other letters receive less attention than individualised correspondence. If you are able to adapt and personalise the letter below, that will make it more effective. Please note, though, that Prospective Parliamentary candidates receive an enormous amount of correspondence and letters longer than a single page are unlikely to receive attention.

Dear X

I am writing to you to seek your commitment that if elected you will support measures to address and reverse the negative impact of the unsustainable level of population and population growth in the UK. The rate of population growth has tripled in the last 25 years and we now have eight times the population density of Europe as a whole. 

Population growth increases pressure on our schools and the NHS, demands housing at a rate we are currently unable to meet and makes it immeasurably harder to meet our climate change obligations. The UK is one of the most “nature depleted” countries on Earth. (Further information at www.populationmatters.org/UK-facts.)

Parliament and the devolved administrations must pass legislation to introduce a National Population Policy which will:

  • Accurately determine future national and regional population growth in the UK, assess the impact of population on other policy fields (such as  climate change targets and public services); and integrate population policy into those areas
  • Set achievable, specific and legally binding targets for ending population growth and stabilising population at a sustainable level
  • Develop an integrated policy framework to meet these targets
  • Ensure the UK takes positive, effective action through aid and intergovernmental activity to support stabilising the global population

You can find out more about a National Population Policy at www.populationmattersorg.

In addition, I ask for your support for the following policy positions:

  • Protection of the existing 0.7% GDP principle in determining levels of overseas aid, and the devotion of increased levels of aid for family planning. 200m women worldwide have an unmet need for contraception.
  • [IF IN ENGLAND] Ensuring family planning services in England are fully funded, to provide an effective service to all in need and reduce the levels of unwanted pregnancy. Currently, one-in-six pregnancies in the UK are unwanted.
  • Provision of high quality, universal Sex and Relationships Education to all secondary school pupils. The UK currently has the highest level of teenage births in Western Europe.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues – your support for them will affect my voting decision on 8 June. I look forward to hearing you express support for these positions.

Yours sincerely

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