Monday 30 March 2015

Yup, this is how democracy works.

From the Evening Standard:

Take this month: we’ve had a Budget whose headline £1,000 tax-free interest allowance for savers only accrues to people with £30,000 or so in the bank. We’ve heard strong suggestions that a Tory government would cut inheritance tax. We’ve seen a pledge card from Labour that didn’t even mention the enormous house-building programme that the party admits is needed.

The Budget did raise the pay of apprentices, and it pledged to top up the deposits of first-time-buyers impossibly lucky enough have the other £61,000 needed to reach the average London first-time deposit. But (older) people with money in the bank comprehensively won the day.

Why? Because they vote. Older people and richer people are much more likely than younger and poorer people to vote, and the gap has widened dramatically. In 1970, turnout among the over-65s was already 18 points higher than among voters aged 18-24 — and that gap has more than doubled since then. Similarly, the turnout gap between the poorest voters and richest voters has widened from four points in 1987 to 23 points in 2010.

Registration levels for this election are strikingly low among younger voters, particularly London’s transient young. According to a recent report, almost half of those turning 18 just in time for this election are not registered; that figure is about 30 per cent among all 18- to 24-year-olds.

But a new online registration system means that plenty can change between now and the April 20 deadline. I felt oddly elated when I registered on the site recently — it takes two minutes and just requires your NI number.

That online registration thing is here, by the way.

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