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29 November, 2009

Young people, political participation, politicians and power in the UK

In a YouGov poll for the Citizenship Foundation almost 4,000 14-25 year-olds were asked about their attitudes towards political participation, politicians and power in the UK.

Results show that although young people think politicians can't give straight answers, have abused their expenses and make promises they can't keep, they still believe they are they best people for the job. And despite the MPs' expenses scandal and the near-collapse of the global economy, a significant majority of Britain's young people still intend to vote.

Interest in politics has risen among young people as a result of the financial crises, but they feel they are not getting the economic and political education that they want.

The poll, commissioned by the Citizenship Foundation to mark its 20th year, found that:

  • 64 per cent of young people intend to vote when they are eligible to do so;
  • The recession, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the MPs' expenses scandal are the issues that have increased their interest in politics;
  • Young people are most likely to learn about politics online, rather than at school or college or from their families;
  • They want more school time spent on politics, economics and the law.

Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation, Dr Tony Breslin, commented on the results of the survey:

‘This poll demonstrates unequivocally that young people want to learn more about politics, law and economics and they want their schools and colleges to help them do so. In light of this research, those schools or colleges that have neglected or marginalised the Citizenship curriculum - or those who would advocate doing so - must think again. But securing every young person's right to good Citizenship Education isn't a job just for educators: politicians from all parties must also recommit to Citizenship Education in the build-up to the forthcoming election to ensure that we don't lose the ground we have gained since Citizenship became statutory in 2002.'

Further information

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Your comments

From Amanda - slough
i am not apathetic young peson and i am very interested in politics and i am 14 :)i dont think that they should be raising university tution fees as i hope to go to university in a few years

From Cllr Janice Elliott - Bishops Stortford
I'm carrying out a bit of research and would be very grateful to know What young people believe an MP should do specifically for them, to assist their understanding on political matters?. They can assume that they have an MP twice a year for an hour each time.

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