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24 March, 2010

Jamie Ells from Merchant Taylors School takes on Chancellor to give youth perspective on Budget 2010

In the run up to Budget 2010, the Citizenship Foundation (an education and participation charity) in partnership with Aviva launched the Chance to be Chancellor competition calling on young people to get to grips with the Budget and give a youth perspective on the UK economy. A total of 132 students entered the competition from secondary schools and sixth form colleges across the country. However it was Merchant Taylor School’s Jamie Ells’ entry that impressed the judging panel, which consisted of the Citizenship Foundation, Aviva and the Times newspaper, making it the winner of this year’s competition.

Grainne Gilmore, Economics Correspondent at the Times commented: ‘Jamie showed a real understanding of the difficulties facing the economy, including the credit squeeze faced by small and medium-sized businesses, the need for more skills training and the erosion of pensioners' savings. He went on to make convincing arguments for the policies he chose to include in his budget statement.'

Jamie, 16, was thrilled to win the competition and said: ‘Wow. It was a total shock. Many thanks to the Citizenship Foundation and Aviva. The competition was really helpful in drawing my ideas together alongside my Economics AS level.' Gregory Hinks, also from Merchant Taylors School, was selected as one of nine runners-up in the competition.

Entrants were asked to review and prioritise a series of policy options that were taken from the Pre Budget Report 2009. The majority (56 per cent) of entrants selected the policy that guarantees a place in education or training or an ‘entry into employment place' for all 16 and 17 year olds. With media reports that younger people have been hit hardest by the recession, this reflects concerns around finding a job after leaving school or being able to afford to continue with further or higher education. Interestingly, however, the policy offering bursaries for 10,000 undergraduates to take short unpaid internships in professions with historically poor access was the least popular (16 per cent).

Chance to be Chancellor has been developed to engage young people with the Budget through learning about the economic challenges the Chancellor faces and choices he has to make. Deborah O'Malley, Community Affairs Manager at Aviva and member of the judging panel, said: 'We were extremely impressed by the high standard of entries we received again this year. All of the finalists showed a strong understanding of the impact that economic decisions have on the society we live in. As a major financial services company, Aviva believes in the value of financial education programmes. In economic times like this, it's vital.'

-Ends-

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