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27 April, 2005

'Top-up fees' tops list of important issues

When asked their views on a number of political issues, of most concern to young people was student fees. However many other issues are also important to them. We asked them to put the issues in order of importance.

11-18 year olds from different types of schools across the UK contributed to a list of 21 political issues. They were then asked to rank the five that were most important to them. The results were:


Student Fees




Third World Debt


War in Iraq

Joint 5th

Fair trade; Global warming

International issues appear closest to the hearts of young people, after student fees.

Participants were asked to respond 'yes' or 'no' to a question on each of their five chosen issues, with the top ranking results as follows:

1. Should University education be free?

Yes: 91%; No: 9%

2. Should smoking be banned in public places?

Yes: 92%; No; 8%

3. Should developed countries cancel the debts of developing countries?

Yes: 89%; No: 11%

4. Should British troops remain in Iraq?

Yes: 25%; No: 75%

5. Should trade rules be tightened to protect poorer countries?

Yes: 95%; No: 5%

5. Should the UK do more to lobby for reductions in carbon emissions?

Yes: 96%; No: 4%


Also in the top ten priorities of the young people surveyed were:

Same-sex marriage

80 per cent believe that gay and lesbian people should have the right to marry.


92 per cent believe that seriously ill people should be allowed to choose to die.

School meals

93 per cent believe that all schools should have a compulsory ‘healthy’ eating menu.


68 per cent believe that Britain’s borders should be open to all.

Fox hunting, reducing the voting age to sixteen, capital punishment, 24 hour licensing laws, recycling, GM foods, reform of the House of Lords, and the health risks of mobile phones all had much lower levels of interest among the young people surveyed.