Forget celebs: young voters are drawn to devolution, poll finds

2 Apr 15

Promises from political parties to devolve power to local areas could double the turnout among young people in next month’s general election, a poll published by the Local Government Association has indicated.

According to a poll conducted byComRes on behalf of the umbrella organisation of local authorities, only one-third (32%) of people under the age of 25 stated they were certain to vote on May 7.

However, almost two-thirds (64%) said a manifesto pledge to shift power and funding for public services from Westminster to their local community would be important in enticing them to the ballot box.

By contrast only half (51%) said national TV debates between the party leaders would encourage them to vote, and just 26% might be persuaded into polling stations by celebrities.

The poll, which assessed the views of 1,001 people under 25 in England, also found that 73% agreed decisions about local public services should be taken by councils rather than by central government. Three out of four (75%) said councils were better placed to make decisions about services for young people.

LGA chair David Sparks said that devolution to town halls could engage more people in the political process and was ‘a clear vote-winner’.

‘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,’ Sparks said.

‘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,’ he added.

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