1. Politicians care more about people who vote
Who holds most power over MPs? Here’s a clue: The people who put them in their jobs. Politicians want to be re-elected so they concentrate on looking after the interests of people who are most likely to turn up to the ballot box.
Not only are younger, poorer and more disadvantaged people part of a smaller group, they’re less likely to vote – so their power over politicians is reduced even further.
2. Older people have more power at the ballot box because they almost always vote
Some groups are over-represented at the ballot box. Half of 18-24 year olds didn’t even make it to the polling station at the 2010 election. Old, retired people were much more likely to vote.
And guess what? That means MPs make policies that help the older, richer people who they know will be turning up to vote. And if they need to do that at the expense of someone else? They’ll take what they need from the people who vote less and complain less – younger, poorer people.
Policies brought in by this government that affect the retired:
• The state pension protected
• The winter fuel allowance protected
• Free bus passes for older people protected
• Older people have been excluded from the bedroom tax changes.
Policies that this government has brought in that affect the young:
• Housing benefit cut for people aged 16-24
• The Educational Maintenance Allowance, which supported poor youngsters to stay in education, abolished
• University tuition fees raised to £9,000 a year
3. Wealthier people have more power at the polls
And if we tot up this government’s policies over the last four years, guess who’s got a better deal? The rich.
Policies that affect the rich
• Top tax rate cut from 50% to 45%
• The Help to Buy scheme has pushed up house prices – helping property owners.
Policies that affect the poor
• Thousands have lost disability benefits
• The bedroom tax has forced many families to relocate
• And the rise in house prices has locked less well-off people out of the housing market.
4. The people who didn’t vote in 2010 could change everything in 2015
Support for every single political party is swamped by the people who didn’t vote. If they all turn up at the polls in 2015 they could turn the political landscape entirely upside down. You should be part of it.
Want to do something about it? Register to vote here, online. Make your voice heard.