A city councillor says he wants the young people of Preston to have the right to vote – lowering the voting age to 16.Advertisement
University ward councillor John Swindells says he is saddened by this generation potentially being the first to be worse off than their parents.
He wants the city to be a guinea pig for lowering the voting age.
Cllr Swindells has tabled a motion to the next meeting of the full council calling for the city council to publicly back the voting age lowering from 18 to 16.
He also wants the city council to join the Votes at 16 Coalition and write to Lancashire MPs calling on them to raise the issue.
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An ambitious bid has also been tabled for Preston to be used as a pilot for lowering the voting age for its all-out council election in 2019. This sees new councillors elected across the city with boundary changes expected.
His motion calls on the government to be requested to use the city as a test bed for voting at 16.
Cllr Swindells said: “My generation of Baby boomers have had the benefits of a free education, a chance in some cases retire early, had workplace pensions, have a triple lock on our pensions, free bus travel passes and TV Licenses when we reach 75.
“Todays young people will be the first generation to be worse off than their parents, struggle to get into the housing market, will work longer, pay ever increasing tuition fees and have to bear the ever increasing cost of the benefits enjoyed by the baby boomers and the generations that came after.
“One of the reasons for this is that governments of all persuasions listen to the older generation who vote in large numbers. The power of those grey votes showed recently when Theresa May suggested changing the way social care is funded. That was seen as the turning of the last election and led to the hung parliament.
“It is as equally important that all tax payers should have their voices equally heard. 16-year-olds as well as pensioners pay taxes.
“I feel that the government should allow 16 and 17 -year-olds should be able to vote in all elections and I fully support the campaign to allow them to do so.
“However that is not the case at the moment but young people in Preston should at the very least be able to vote in local elections in the City just like their contemporaries are allowed to do in Scotland and the Isle of Mann.”
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Liberal Democrat councillor Neil Darby said his party would be backing the motion.
He said: “I’m pleased to see Cllr Swindells getting on board with votes at 16. If more politicians put pragmatism before party, Preston would be a much fairer place to live.”
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Cllr Swindells motion is to be heard at the next full council meeting at the Town Hall on Thursday 24 August.
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