Politics- Councils and local authority bodies.

Devolution will encourage young adults to vote

Young people register to vote on iPads as part of the League of Young Voters' #votepower tour.

Young people register to vote on iPads as part of the League of Young Voters’ #votepower tour. Image: The British Youth Council

A new national poll has found that 64 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds would be more likely to vote in the General Election if political parties promised to devolve powers from MPs in Westminster to their local areas.

ComRes conducted the poll for the Local Government Association (LGA).

Related findings of the poll include:

  • Seventy-three per cent said decisions about how local public services are run should be made by their local council rather than national government in Westminster.
  • Seventy-five per cent believe their local council is best placed to make decisions about services for young people in their area as opposed to MPs.
  • Seventy-one per cent said they would find it easier to influence services run by their local council rather than those run by MPs in Westminster.

Other motivators for young voters include the national TV leaders’ debates – 51 per cent of those polled said that the debates would encourage them to vote – and, to a much lesser extent, celebrities: 26 per cent said that celebrities would influence their decision to vote.

But with only a third of 18 to 24-year-olds certain to vote – as the poll found – ‘much more clearly needs to be done to engage them in the political process’, said LGA chair, Councillor David Sparks.

He listed a good education, access to jobs, and opportunities for housing as the key election concerns for young adults.

He 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.

ComRes interviewed 1,001 English adults aged 18-24 online between February 13th and the 26th in 2015. The research consultancy said data was weighted to be representative of all English adults aged 18-24.

The LGA is a politically-led, cross-party membership organisation that ‘works on behalf of councils to ensure local government has a strong, credible voice with national government’.

As part of its campaign for devolution, the LGA says the new government would save £11 billion of public money if it implements a number of measures within the first 100 days.

These measures would also 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.

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