The largest youth volunteering charity in England, vInspired, reveals the most important topics when it comes to winning the youth vote.

• New figures show an increase in voting intention, as 52 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds plan to vote on 7th May 2015.
• The youth vote is still very much up for grabs as 34 per cent of young people don’t know who they are going to vote for.
• Rising living costs, lack of affordable houses and unemployment are the top issues that need addressing to win the youth vote.
• On Thursday 11th September, vInspired will premiere its youth crowd-sourced #SwingTheVote film – unveiling the issues that matter to the nation’s youth.

In the wake of new data revealing a huge increase in young people’s intention to vote, vInspired’s Swing The Vote campaign announces today the top issues that Britain’s youth care about and want addressing come 7th May 2015. Top of the youth agenda are the increasing cost of living and issues around affordable housing; unemployment and access to work is also a big concern, whilst the future of the NHS is a growing worry amongst 18 to 24 year-olds.

The Populus poll, commissioned by vInspired, will form part of a wider piece of research from the think-tank Demos out later this year. Its research of 1,000 18 to 24 year-olds reveals the number of young people intending to vote in next year’s General Election has risen dramatically from the 12 per cent as identified by Hansard in 2013, to 52 per cent. A further 25 per cent confirm they will probably vote, with young men more likely to vote then young women. However, 34 per cent of the youth population are still unsure of who will get their support, meaning the youth vote is very much up for grabs.

With 6.8 million 18 to 24 year-olds eligible to vote, young people could provide a huge swing for any one of the parties. vInspired’s #SwingTheVote campaign is calling on politicians to listen to young people’s views when making policy if they want to win their votes.

The top 10 issues according to young people are:

1) Living Costs
2) Affordable Housing
3) Unemployment and access to work
4) The future of the NHS
5) The gap between the rich and the poor in the UK
6) Tuition fees for universities
7) Online safety
8) The state of public finances in Britain
9) Crime and antisocial behaviour
10) Care for the elderly

With 18 to 24 year-olds making up 14 per cent of the electorate, Britain’s youth could prove to have the decisive vote in May 2015. Despite low turnouts at previous elections, a strong turnout could provide a monumental swing to a party that delivers on their needs. Further to this, 194 marginal constituencies could be won by an opposing party with just a 5 per cent swing in votes, something a strong youth turnout could achieve.

Six out of the top ten key issues for young people are centred on finances. Sixty-nine per cent are worried about cost of living, whilst 62 per cent are concerned about access to affordable housing. Those in London are amongst the most troubled with 32 per cent stating they are ‘extremely concerned’ at the lack of affordable housing in the capital. Wealth diversity (51 per cent), university tuition fees (50 per cent), the state of public finances in Britain (48 per cent) and welfare and benefits (47 per cent) make up the other financial concerns facing young people nationwide.

Regional differences within the research state that young people in Scotland (69 per cent), Northern Ireland (71 per cent) and Wales (67 per cent) are most concerned with the future of the NHS; whilst those in the South East (48 per cent) and South West (51 per cent) are more worried about care for the elderly. Issues around poverty are also high on the agenda, with young people in the East Midlands (59 per cent) most concerned about the state of welfare and benefits, whilst those in London (57 per cent) are most concerned with wealth distribution and the gap between the rich and the poor in the UK.

Other issues of prevalence amongst 18 to 24 year-olds across the country included concerns about crime and antisocial behaviour. Nearly half (47 per cent) of all young people polled stated it was an issue of importance, with the biggest concern coming from young people in the East Midlands (61 per cent). Care for the elderly was also at the top of the agenda for a lot of young people, with 47 per cent stating their concern about the current state of care. Online safety concerned half (50 per cent) of young people.

Swing The Vote is a nationwide campaign from the youth volunteering charity vInspired, calling on young people to ensure their voice is heard – and represented – at the next General Election by sharing their views on key issues. Ultimately, its aim is to increase the youth turnout in May 2015. Throughout the last few months, the campaign has encouraged young people and celebrities to upload short videos, photos and tweets stating what would make them vote. These have been collated by TV presenter, Rick Edwards into a film which will be shared with politicians this autumn as they formulate their manifestos starting at party conferences. This evening will see the premiere of the Swing the Vote film at London’s RichMix venue in Shoreditch. Hosted by Rick Edwards, the event will also feature a live art battle bringing to life the issues that most represent young people’s views.

Moira Swinbank, vInspired Chief Executive said:

“It’s encouraging to see such a dramatic increase in intention to vote amongst young people. At vInspired we know that young people are not apathetic about shaping the world around them and this increase shows that despite previous low turnouts, young people do care about the direction of the country and want to have their say, provided they can trust that their view are represented by politicians. It’s important to address the key issues that they care about, and with 6.8 million votes at stake, politicians will certainly need to take them seriously.”

The Populus poll will form part of a wider piece of research from Demos, to be launched later this year. It will explore the key issues motivating potential young voters, and the changes in politicians’ behaviour to the electoral system that would make them more likely to vote.

Jonathan Birdwell, Head of Citizenship at the think-tank Demos, said:

“Young people could swing the vote in 2015. Too often they are dismissed as uninterested in politics and apathetic. Demos research has shown that this is incorrect. With the help of social media, young people today are more aware of social issues in their communities and across the world, and many are hugely motivated to do their part.

That is why Demos will explore the key issues that matter to young people to find what would drive them into the voting booth. The party that manages to tap into the concerns and interests of young people could be the victor in 2015.”

Rick Edwards, adds:

“The stereotype that young people don’t care about politics is just that – a stereotype. An inaccurate one at that. In reality, young people are self-starters who aren’t afraid to take action, rather than simply waiting for government to change things. What politicians need to show them is that their voices and their votes will make a difference. Otherwise they won’t even begin to think of voting as a way to effect change. Politicians need to engage with young people better and shape policy based on their needs.

With 6.8 million votes up for grabs and a large proportion undecided on how they’ll vote, there’s no better moment to bring the passions of young people to the forefront of policy – and let’s not forget that a party that does this stands to benefit significantly at the ballot box.”

Tickets for the Swing the Vote premiere and event are available at:
http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/139443