Julia Davies and John Mead visit North Herts College

Julia Davies was welcomed by the President of the Students Union, Jayde Wood, at North Herts College where she discussed policy with more than a dozen young people. John Mead, candidate for Manor Ward in the Stevenage Borough elections accompanied Julia

Julia Davies was welcomed by the President of the Students' Union, Jayde Wood, at North Herts College where she discussed policy with more than a dozen young people. John Mead, candidate for Manor Ward in the Stevenage Borough elections accompanied Julia and participated in the discussion which ranged over national policy and local problems such as pot-holes and bus routes, the town centre and West of Stevenage housing.

'I was delighted to find so many students prepared to stay after their normal day was finished to discuss policies in such an informed and interested way. It was helpful to hear what their own circumstances were and to demonstrate how our policies would be able to help in many situations. For other students I was given food for thought and suggestions about widening access to Educational Maintenance Allowances to put forward to our own policy-making forum which is the federal party conference.' In fact some students who mentioned issues about time off for urgent appointments affecting their EMAs and the bonus payments which usually follow them were invited there and then to resolve their problems with Jayde Wood's help within the college.

Julia said: 'One of the students' major concerns is whether there will be a job for them following their training and whether there is any way around the massive debts being built up by students attending university. Our policies for reducing the carbon footprint of homes, schools and hospitals will ensure new jobs for thousands of people as well as helping us to reduce emissions of harmful gases and conserving energy. Liberal Democrats want to phase out tuition fees over a period of six years beginning with final year students. Of course if our banks had not let us down and created the dreadful hole in the economy we should have abolished them entirely.'

The students were eager to know how the rise in the personal allowance to the first �10,000 of income would be paid for: Julia spelled out the increase the LibDems would make to aviation duty - every plane to be taxed for every journey - and the new mansion tax to be paid by all those owning a house valued at more than �2m. Julia assured the group that Vince Cable and Nick Clegg would not make cuts before 2011 and then it would be if the economy could definitely withstand them. Julia was delighted that so many of the students got involved and stayed for over an hour at the end of their busy day.