Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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4,000 young people missing from electoral roll in Plymouth

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Are you registered to vote? In the past year over 4,000 young people have disappeared from the electoral register thanks to Government changes in the way people register to vote.

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Ed Miliband will today warned that young people are in danger of losing their voice and must make themselves heard in this year’s General Election.

He launched a drive to register a missing million voters who have disappeared from the Electoral Register because of government reforms in the last 12 months, particularly in towns and cities with high numbers of students and young people. Mr Miliband will reveal that over 4,000 young people have dropped off the register in Plymouth since last year, mainly due to Government changes in the way electoral registration now works.

In a speech at Sheffield Hallam University Students’ Union Ed said that this is the year when young voters are able not only to hold leaders to account for broken promises - like those on tuition fees - but also begin to shape a better future for their generation.

 

“Young people in Plymouth have been hit especially hard by this government with our Tory MP voting to triple tuition fees, scrap EMA and restrict housing benefit to the over 25s. Youth and graduate unemployment also threatens to create a wasted generation. Labour is promising action to help young people into work, training and afford decent housing. 

It is a scandal that over 4,000 young people in Plymouth are now missing from the electoral register. My message is simple, register to vote and have your say.” - Luke Pollard, Labour’s candidate in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport 

 

Ed Miliband said: 

“In the last year almost one million people have fallen off the Electoral Register, including 4,263 in Plymouth. This is a direct consequence of the Government’s decision to ignore warning that rushing through new individual registration reforms would damage democracy. It has. 

“This is nothing less than a scandal. The Government is sitting by and watching thousands of young people in Plymouth lose their democratic rights.

“But young people must be heard, loud and clear, in this election in Plymouth. That’s why Luke Pollard, Alison Seabeck and I are determined to do all we can to get young people back on the electoral register, and casting their vote in May. 

“So make you sure you have a voice – and then make sure you get heard – because the stakes for your generation are greater than ever.”

Mr Miliband will say universities, government, local authorities and political parties need to address the concerns of their generation by showing we can listen and offer better policies with action on low pay, affordable housing, jobs, skills, and climate change.

Ed's speech comes as Labour publishes new figures showing almost one million people have gone missing from voting rolls in the last year, hundreds of thousands of them young people, as a consequence of the government’s decision to override safeguards and ignore warnings from electoral watchdogs about the hasty introduction of individual registration. 

One of the key components of the government’s reforms is that universities and colleges can no longer block register students living in Halls of Residences to vote. And areas that have seen the number of registered voters fall by five figures include such university cities and towns as Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle, Plymouth, Southampton, Leicester, Nottingham and Brighton.

Labour is challenging the government, the Electoral Commission, universities and local authorities to address this democratic scandal with urgent action by the end of this month so that people can get back on the register. 

In Plymouth, the Plymouth University Student Union is already conducting a voter registration drive and on campus the Labour Society on campus has set itself a challenge of registering 1,149 students - the same number as the majority of the Tory incumbent. 

 

Individual Electoral Registration scandal: a million missing voters

  • New figures reveal the Tory and Lib Dems’ disastrous reforms to electoral registration mean one million voters have already fallen off the electoral roll. 
  • For the 373 Local Authorities for which data has been processed, 307 have seen a reduction in the electoral roll. In these Local Authorities 1,016,024 fewer voters are registered in 2015, compared with in 2014.  
  • Across all the 373 Local Authorities for which data has been processed, there are 950,845 fewer electors than there were in last year’s registers for the same Authorities. 
  • The new figures confirm the concerns that areas with high student populations and areas with high proportions of residents renting their homes (such as inner London) would see a substantial drop in the electoral roll.

 

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