Demand for greater youth influence after high election turnout

By Neil Puffett

| 12 June 2017

Government must start to listen to young people and address their concerns in the wake of the high turnout among the UK's youth in last week's general election, the British Youth Council has said.

The British Youth Council says the high youth turnout at last week's general election means politicians must address their concerns. Picture: BYC

According to Sky News data, the turnout for 18- to 24-year-olds was 66.4 per cent, a substantial rise from the 43 per cent figure in the 2015 general election.

The British Youth Council (BYC) said that decision makers across the country have repeatedly told young people that their voices will continue to be less of a priority until they vote in elections.

It added that, now young people have turned out, MPs "must not only acknowledge young people but actively include them in the democratic process".

Anna Barker, BYC chair, said: "Politicians have repeatedly told us our issues will become a priority when young people turn out. Young people have now sent a clear message. Members of Parliament must now address the core issues of young people."

"We've been warning politicians that they must use our vote or lose and this election may just serve as a wake-up call."

Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock said the scale of young people's involvement in the election is a "massively positive statement about the contribution they can make to the political process".

"One of the many beneficial side effects of this powerful youth vote is that in coming elections parties should no longer be able take young people for granted, patronise them or ignore their priorities.

"They must instead design policies that are relevant and harness their energy at grassroots level."

Meanwhile, an unnamed government minister told the Telegraph that the Conservative Party has become "too shallow" and needs a "reinvigoration of political thought" that can draw young people to the party.

The MP warned that the Tory election campaign had relied on "poxy little slogans" to attract the youth vote and failed to counter Jeremy Corbyn's offer of "free money" in the form of state-funded university tuition and other measures.

"You've got to persuade a new generation of people of what's what," the minister said.

"We never even tried, so Corbyn just came in and basically bribed people to vote for him with other people's money that doesn't even exist."

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