What Do Young Voters Want From The General Election?

By BethPH Last edited 47 months ago
What Do Young Voters Want From The General Election?

Photo by Ian Davidson in the Londonist Flickr pool

In the 2010 general election, just 44% of voters aged 18-24 cast their vote at the ballot box. This time, with no clear leader in the polls, the parties are trying to win over as many young voters as they can ahead of 7 May.

So what's important to young voters? Pretty much everyone has been asking and it turns out that it's jobs and housing. Oh, and an app to cast their vote.

Reuters caught up with some first-time voters from the 2010 election and found a potential shift back to Labour for those who voted Conservative. Five years of no jobs, welfare cuts and the spiralling cost of owning (or even renting) their first home has left many feeling somewhat disillusioned. Lest we forget, the Lib Dems' broken promise over tuition fees managed to alienate a swathe of students across the electorate.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has set out to win back some of the party's lost voters. A promise to cut tuition fees, apprenticeships for school leavers and a guaranteed job for under 25s who have been unemployed for more than a year are also on Labour's list. A New Policy Institute report in February highlighted a six point rise in poverty in the last 10 years among 19-25s, with the main reasons being a fall in the employment rate of young people and increased housing costs.

The Green Party has also been identified as one of the go-to parties for Britain's 18-24 year olds, with a huge increase in youth members. Reuters suggests the reason for this is that the Greens are now seen as the "left-of-centre, anti-establishment party" for a section of the electorate which has traditionally been more left-leaning.

And what about that voting app? Registering to vote can be a pain, especially for students. Labour claimed that students and young people made up a lot of the one million voters estimated to have been 'lost' from the electoral roll after the switch from household to individual electoral registration in 2013. In a bid to encourage young people to register to vote, Miliband has thrown his support behind Bite the Ballot, an organisation which aims to inform and empower young voters.

How can young Londoners have their say? We published the capital's top 10 marginal seats in March, some with majorities as tiny as 42 votes. But wherever you live in the capital, we suggest that you get your registration to vote in ahead of the 20 April deadline, and get your voice heard in the 2015 general election.

Read more:

Centre For London Asks: Is London Really A Labour City?

Centre For London Looks At The London Election Battlegrounds

General Election: Are You Registered To Vote?

What’s The Point Of The Election If You Live In A Safe Seat?

Last Updated 23 March 2015