Voting Age

In response to the campaign on lowering the voting age, David said:

"There has been a rising level of interest in the issue following the Scottish Independence Referendum, however, most polls do show that a majority of adults oppose the change. In the 16-18 cohort, there is a modest majority of 16 year olds in favour, 17 year olds are evenly balanced, and 18 year olds are against.

In the UK, there is no single moment when someone moves from childhood to adulthood; instead responsibilities and permitted activities build up over time. For example, a person must be 17 before they can leave home without parents' consent or hold a license to drive and 18 before they can sit on a jury or buy alcohol. I think this illustrates that, so far, we have viewed attaining adulthood as a process rather than a single event.

It is notable that most democracies consider 18 the right age to enfranchise young people. So far in the EU, only Austria and Scotland have lowered the voting age to 16 for national elections.

 Of course, it is important that young people take part in politics, but there are more factors than voting age to take into account when considering how to increase youth involvement in politics. A 2009 report by the Youth Citizenship Commission stated that the voting age is not the principal factor in encouraging young people's interest and involvement in politics and citizenship."

More information about the campaign can be found here.