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Young adults are less likely to vote in General Election, survey finds

Young adults are less likely to vote in General Election, survey finds

🕔02.Apr 2015

Only a third of 18 to 24-year-olds are certain to vote in the General Election, a national poll reveals today.

A ComRes survey for the Local Government Association (LGA) found that just 32 per cent of young people questioned said they would definitely vote on May 7.

The low figure is bound to raise questions about the wisdom of Labour’s commitment to lower the voting age to 16.

Almost two-thirds, 64 per cent, said they would be more likely to vote for a party promising devolution. A manifesto commitment to shift power and funding for public services from Westminster to their local community would be important in enticing them out to the ballot box.

Half said national TV debates between the main party leaders would encourage them to vote and just 26 per cent would be persuaded by celebrities.

Other findings of the survey of young people include:

  • 73 per cent said decisions about how local public services are run should be made by their local council rather than national government in Westminster.
  • Three-quarters (75 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds believe their local council is best placed to make decisions about services for young people in their area as opposed to MPs (12 per cent).
  • Seven in 10 (71 per cent) said they would find it easier to influence services run by their local council rather than those run by MPs in Westminster.

An LGA spokesperson said: “Despite young people trusting councils more than central government and MPs when it comes to their local area, too many local decisions – such as how to give young people the advice, skills and experience needed by local businesses – are dictated by government.”

While today’s youngsters are more likely to volunteer, to care for others and to engage in social issues than previous generations, young people in the UK vote less than in any other country in the European Union.

The LGA has set out how devolving power to local areas could save the public purse £11 billion and allow local government to build half a million new homes, halve the number of unemployed young people and reduce long-term unemployment by a third. LGA Chair Cllr David Sparks said:

With only a third of 18 to 24-year-olds certain to head to the ballot box in May, much more clearly needs to be done to engage them in the political process.

What really matters to young people across the country is receiving a good education, having access to jobs and the chance to get onto the housing ladder. Our poll shows these are the important issues at stake at this election for 18 to 24-year-olds and that they want these big issues tackled by their local area and not by MPs in Westminster.

Devolving greater powers to communities across England would free councils to take decisions based on what young people actually need and want and get on with the job of improving transport, creating jobs and providing desperately needed new homes. This is a clear vote-winner.

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