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Sunak, UK PM, pitches mandatory national youth service

Rishi Sunak, the United Kingdom prime minister, has pitched a compulsory national youth service for young citizens ahead of the 2024 general election. 

Last week, Sunak announced that he had requested permission from the king to dissolve parliament and call a general election to be held on 4 July.

He said the parliament was prorogued on May 24 and will be dissolved on May 30 with voting taking place 25 working days later.

In a statement via X on Sunday, the British prime minister highlighted the five points that will charaterise the initiative.

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Sunak said the national service will be open to every 18-year-old who “would to either serve in the Armed Forces or serve community by volunteering”.

The prime minister added that the initiative will not raise tax in the country, while reitering the British government’s commitment to “spending 2.5% of GDP on Defence by 2030”.

Sunak noted that the enrolled citizens will get a chance to learn from the armed forces and “enable young people to give back to the communities that raised them”.

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“Every 18-year-old will get the choice of how they do their National Service,” the statement reads in part.

“Deciding to either serve their country in the Armed Forces or serve their community by volunteering.

“This bold new model will open up a world of opportunity.

“It will make sure young people in the UK get the same chance in life as their peers in allies like Sweden, Norway, Denmark and France — which have all recently introduced or announced new forms of national service.

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“Everyone will get the life-changing chance to learn from the best of the best – from the men and women of our Armed Forces, our inspirational NHS staff or the fire service.

“Gaining skills for life in everything from cyber to leadership. The Covid pandemic showed the value of civic service to individuals and our country as a whole.

“By building on this spirit of community, this bold action will enable young people to give back to the communities that raised them.

“This clear plan is costed in full through clamping down on tax avoidance and through funding previously used for the Shared Prosperity Fund.

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“Meaning that we’ll deliver National Service without raising a single tax and on top of our commitment to spend 2.5% of GDP on Defence by 2030.”

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