Even though some of them will not be able to vote in next week’s general election, students at Merton College had the chance to grill candidates in Mitcham and Morden.

The students were reminded that even though some of them were too young to vote, the person elected could have an impact on their life in the coming years.

Property prices, homelessness, mental health and university fees were all raised by young people at the college in London Road.

But one candidate, Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh, was nowhere to be seen. She has been contacted to ask why she did not attend the hustings.

The other five candidates in the constituency attended the hustings yesterday (Monday, December 3).

What would you do to tackle homelessness?

The first question was about what the would-be MPs would do about rising property prices and about homelessness.

Jeremy Maddocks (Brexit Party) said he thinks not enough homes are being built in the area.

And he described council estates as “absolutely disgusting”, slamming the council for not looking after them or collecting rubbish more frequently than every other week.

Des Coke from the Christian People’s Alliance said the party would offer free night shelter with free food for the homeless.

Conservative Toby Williams said: “We are not building enough homes for people in this country.”

He added that he wants to see  more homes built on derelict industrial sites.

Luke Taylor from the Liberal Democrats said the party would  increase council tax on second homes to allow councils to fund building.

While Pippa Maslin from the Green Party said the reaons people are being pushed into homelessness in the first place need to be looked at.

We need more nurses?

One student asked what could be done to support the NHS and what measures could be put in place to recruit more staff.

This was the first mention of the ‘B word’ of the afternoon from Luke Taylor who said he thinks staff are leaving the UK because of Brexit.

Mr Taylor said that the Lib Dems would bring back nursing bursaries for areas where there are “acute shortages”. He added that in general the NHS needs more funding.

Jeremy Maddocks said that resources in the UK are stretched because of open borders as part of the EU. He described it as unfair that people from EU countries can come to the UK easily while it is more difficult for those from other countries including Commonwealth countries.

He said: “At the moment people can come here from other parts of the EU irrespective of skills or ability and can claim housing or benefits.”

And Conservative Toby Williams said that the government needs to “desperately look at retention” of staff.

He also wants to see the nursing bursary reintroduced.

Pippa Maslin from the Green Party said that more people need to be encouraged into NHS professions in schools.

She added: “In terms of retention…if the NHS can be funded properly then we could afford to pay nurses a bit more so they could have a more comfortable lifestyle.”

And Des Coke from the Christian People’s Alliance also said that he wants to see a push for careers education in schools.

He said: “Rather than teach them things like gender identity they can teach them more about where they could be in terms of jobs.”

What about university fees?

An important issue for many young people is tuition fees and students wanted to know what each party would do if elected.

Pippa Maslin said the Green Party would abolish tuition fees.

She said: “When I went to university I got in just before tuition fees were brought in.

“Now students are stating to behave like customers and not behaving like students.”

In the 2010 General Election the Liberal Democracts pledged to axe tuition fees but they were raised to £9,000 a year under a coalition government

Luke Taylor told the students: “The reality of the cooalition meant we had to vote on things we didn’t like to get things we did.

“You should look at it as a risk free loan. If you don’t end up earning enough it will get written off.”

He did not say that the party would get rid of tuition fees, but he did say it would bring back maintenance grants.

And Conservative Toby Williams said that it would not be fair to get rid of tuition fees.

He said: “The person who benefits the most from the fact that I went to university is myself because I’ve got a decent job and wage.

“If I wasn’t paying it would be general taxation and from people who are on lower income which I think is fundamentally unfair.”

And Des Coke said that tuition fees should stay but are “just too high” at the moment.

Jeremy Maddocks said the Brexit Party would remove the interest on loans.

“It means you are not accumulating huge amounts of interest,” he added.

More than 100 students attended the hustings at Merton College and for some it may have been their first introduction to politics.

For those that can vote it is clear that the most important things to them are the NHS, education and housing.

While Brexit was mentioned by some of the candidates it was not a key concern of students posing questions.

Since 1997 the Mitcham and Morden constituency has been represented by Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh who was absent at this hustings.