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How will the election affect young people? Part 1

A LOT TO TAKE IN: Students and young voters are under pressure to make the ‘right’ decision in the forthcoming General Election

AROUND 75 per cent of people aged 65 and over will vote in this election.

Only around 42 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds will do the same – something, which has become the norm for under 24s over the years. It’s no surprise that the decline of the 18-24 year old vote coincides with numerous limitations that have come their way; from reductions in housing benefits for 18-21 year olds, the end of the education maintenance allowance, no entry to the “national living wage” and of course – the advent of tuition fees.

In order to curb this for next month’s General Election, companies like Uber and Thorpe Park are enticing young people to vote with discounts, while political parties like Labour have gained the help of grime stars like JME to help attract young voters and encourage them to register.

However, while political parties are doing their best to get young people to vote, there are still many young people that do – and some of them are concerned about what these parties truly have to offer and whether they’re concerns are being heard.

In an exclusive poll on The Voice Online, which asked: “Are the major political parties addressing concerns of young black voters?” only 8 per cent said ‘YES’ while a whopping 92 per cent said “NO”.

“The big question at this snap general election is: who will decide Britain’s future?” said Elisabeth Pop, voter registration campaign manager at the anti-fascism group Hope Not Hate. “With less than a month to go until voter registration ends, there is a real risk that students and certain other vulnerable groups will miss out on their chance of a voice.

In order to increase the turnout in young voters, it’s important to address the key concerns that they’re currently facing:

HOUSING

On average, house prices are now almost seven times people’s income – making it difficult for young people to get onto the property ladder. According to Shelter, a registered charity which campaigns to end bad housing and homelessness in the UK, 325,000 people in London in their 20s and 30s still live with their parents, making this the highest rate of adults living with their parents since 1996.  

One in four young people (18-34) are also so pessimistic about the housing situation that they believe they will never be able to afford their own home, according to Property Wire.
 
Whilst it was recently announced in the Liberal Democrats manifesto that they’ve proposed a rent-to-own initiative – a proposal which allows tenants to use rent payment to buy their own homes – the current housing climate and likeliness of home ownership is slipping out of the reach of many young people, who find it difficult to save up to buy their own property no matter how hard they work.

The impact of the housing crisis has also resulted in an increase in homelessness across the UK, with the number of homeless households rising to more than 50,000 a year.

In a recently released statement, Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of homeless charity Crisis, said: “Having a stable place to call home is fundamental to the life chances of us all. At a time when the number of people sleeping on our streets continues to rise at an alarming rate, we are committed to working with the next government to push for an end to rough sleeping.”

EDUCATION

The influx of university fees continues to be a key issue amongst young people, particularly those from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds. Statistics have suggested that a young persons’ chances of applying for a degree course depends heavily on where they live, while the number of those planning to go on to higher education is falling in some areas in the country. With tuition fees increasing year on year – with a 2.8% inflation-linked rise coming into effect autumn 2017 – poverty-stricken students are being left behind and deprived of a good higher education.

Read part two of: How will the election affect young people? from 7pm GMT tomorrow.

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