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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Ideas on the 3rd Floor: Why don't young people vote, and what does it matter anyway?

Over the course of the last decade, successive governments have become increasingly concerned by what they consider to be a continued disconnection of British citizens--and of young citizens in particular--from the formal political process and from democratic institutions. Most recently, only 44% of eligible 18 to 24 year olds voted at the 2010 General Election.

Tuesday 19 March 17.30 to 19.00
IPPR North offices, central Newcastle

Speaking at this event, Professor Matt Henn from Nottingham Trent University will consider the results from a recent nationwide survey of over 1,000 British 18 year olds in order to shed light on what lies at the heart of their apparent disengagement from formal politics. 

Matt will discuss the findings of this study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which reveals that today's young people exhibit an interest in politics and are generally supportive of the democratic process, most notably the principle of having elected representatives. There is, however, a prevailing concern that young people's views are not properly represented through this democratic process, and that formal politics fails to recognise a youth agenda. This concern exists alongside a scepticism  of the way the British political system is organised and led, and a deep antipathy towards politicians and the political parties. 

Existing research in this area has tended towards treatment of young people as a homogenous group, however Matt will investigate socio-demographic factors influencing youth orientation to politics such as educational history, social class, and ethnicity, and to some extent, gender. He will conclude by discussing the implications of the research for political actors and institutions, and specifically what might be done to encourage young people to re-engage with the political process.

This event is part of the Ideas on the 3rd Floor programme, which is a series of in-house events on a wide range of topics within politics, culture and society designed to bring the freshest ideas and the most interesting thinkers to Newcastle for intelligent debate of some of today's most pressing social challenges.

The event is free and open to all but it is essential that you book your place as we anticipate demand will be high and space is limited. Please email to book.