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31 March, 2011

Young people prioritised education and health spending in first ever Youth Budget

· Of all areas of public spending, young people chose to invest most significantly in education

· 80% of young people chose to cut spending on welfare by up to £10 billion

· Young people chose to cut the deepest in the areas of culture, media and sport, and housing and environment

Today the first ever Youth Budget, representing the voices of 1,363[1] young people aged between 14 and 18, was presented to Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury. The Youth Budget brings together the results of the Chance to be Chancellor challenge, an online interactive tool which invited young people to give their opinions on public spending in eight key areas. Chance to be Chancellor is part of the Paying for It programme, an economic awareness education programme run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with Aviva.

Faced with the need to tackle the budget deficit, the vast majority of young people (84%) recognised the need to cut public spending, choosing to make cuts, on average, of 5% (£35 billion) over the current Spending Review cycle.

Education and health suffered the least stringent cuts with young people prioritising spending on education (69%) and health (76%). However other areas, most notably culture, media and sport, and housing and environment, suffered particularly harsh cuts with 30% of young people opting to cut spending in these areas by 40%. Another area where young people chose to cut deeply was welfare, with 80% of participants opting to cut spending by up to £10 billion (5%).

Commenting on the Youth Budget, Andy Thornton, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation, said: ‘These findings demonstrate that, when informed, young people can take difficult decisions about how to manage the economy, which at the moment requires decisions about where the deepest public spending cuts should take place. Young people have a valuable and interesting contribution to make to this important public debate. This is evident in the choices they made around prioritisation of spending. When it came to the crunch, they decided to very much focus on spending in the here and now (health and education) rather than investing in issues which may have a longer term impact on the economy, such as the environment.

‘As voters of the future, it is incumbent on the Government to pay attention to the voice of young people. The Youth Budget is an attempt to channel that voice so that young people get their say on significant economic issues of the day.'

 

Youth Chancellor announced

Presenting the Youth Budget to Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury was this year's Youth Chancellor, Priyesh Patel - 15 years old - of Twyford Church of England High School, London. Out of the 249 young people who entered the competition to make the case for their Budget, Priyesh Patel's entry impressed the panel of judges with his explanation of why and how public spending should be prioritised in these austere times.

Gary Price, UK Marketing Director at Aviva said: ‘The quality of the submissions for the Chance to be Chancellor competition is a testament to the great work that the Paying for It programme brings to educating and engaging young people on important economic and political decisions of the day. Aviva is proud to work in partnership with the Citizenship Foundation on this programme and is committed to ensuring that young people are equipped with a good financial and economic understanding.'

 

The Youth Budget

The full Youth Budget can be downloaded.

 2,826 young people aged 14 to 18 from across the UK participated in the Chance to be Chancellor online challenge to create their own Budget for the country. The challenge was open from January to March 2011. Four ‘advisers', each with a different perspective on the best way forward, were on hand to inform their decisions and offer policy options to choose from. Using the online tool, young people submitted their preferred options for public spending in each of eight key areas. The results of these views have been collated to produce the first ever ‘Youth Budget'.

 

 

Media contact

For more information on the launch of the Youth Budget and the Citizenship Foundation:

Emma Doyle, Citizenship Foundation, tel: 0207 566 4134 or email emma.doyle@citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

 

For more information on the Paying for It programme, including Chance to be Chancellor and the Youth Budget:

Ruth Dwight, Citizenship Foundation, tel: 020 7566 5038 or email ruth.dwight@citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

Robert Geddis, Citizenship Foundation, tel: 020 7566 4136 or email robert.geddis@citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

 

For more information on Aviva:

Jenny Chapman at Aviva, tel: 01603 689894 or email jenny.chapman@aviva.com

 

 

Notes to Editors

 

[1] 2,826 young people took part in the Chance to be Chancellor challenge. The Youth Budget used a sample of 1,363 who registered their details and confirmed their age as 14-18.

 

 

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