Youngsters urged to join in politics

YOUNG people in the Suffolk Coastal district are being urged to take a more active interest in the politics of where they live as part of a national consultation on whether to change the minimum voting age.

YOUNG people in the Suffolk Coastal district are being urged to take a more active interest in the politics of where they live as part of a national consultation on whether to change the minimum voting age.

The Electoral Commission is currently looking at whether the age for voting, or standing as a candidate at an election, should be altered and wants to hear from people from across the country.

Statistics show young people are using their vote less and less, and the survey aims to find out why.

Councillor David Smith, Suffolk Coastal's lead Cabinet Member for young people, said: "It could be that lowering the age when you can vote to perhaps 16, or allowing candidates younger than 21 to stand for election, might make it much more interesting to young people.

"It may be that young people think that who is elected does not really affect them, but by not voting they are missing out on the chance to affect national decisions on issues like tuition fees, or possibly local matters like leisure services or licensing rules on pubs and clubs."

Mr Smith added that Suffolk Coastal is currently investigating what can be done to get more young people involved with the council, and would welcome views on how to give Suffolk Coastal a younger outlook.

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He said: "There are about 10,000 people aged between 16 and 25 in our district – if they started getting involved, telling councils what they want, linking up, getting involved by voting, by standing as candidates, I think they would be

very surprised how quickly their views would have an impact."

The full consultation paper, entitled How old is old enough?, and a young people's version of the document, are available on the commission's website www.electoralcommission.org.uk or by calling 020 72710500.

Anyone wanting to contact Mr Smith can email

david.smith@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk or write to him at the council's Melton Hill offices, Woodbridge IP12 1AU.

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