Back to the future

The weekend before the spending review was announced, Demos held a Young People’s Convention on the Deficit with one hundred 16 to 18-year-olds. This was the first time
young people not eligible to vote in the 2010 general election were invited to formally express their views on cuts and a political agenda that would impact directly on them and their life chances.

This pamphlet presents detailed findings from the convention, supplemented with wider polling of 18 to 21-year-olds. It contributes to the ongoing debate on the fortunes of ‘generation crunch’ and addresses the wider question of how societies factor the needs of future generations into their decision-making processes. Back to the Future suggests that increasing young people’s opportunities for consultation and lowering the voting age are reforms that would allow them to overcome the considerable economic and social challenges of tomorrow.

These challenges – from uncertain and insecure employment to coping with the consequences of climate change – cannot and will not be solved by individuals acting in isolation. This pamphlet argues that if young people are to stand a chance of developing collective solutions to their shared afflictions, they require a transfer of political capital today.