An overwhelming majority of young people do not feel politicians have listened to them on Brexit, new polling has revealed.
The Jack Petchey Foundation spoke to more than 6,000 young people aged 11 to 25 – and found just 5% felt their views had been taken into account by politicians.
The online survey carried out in October 2019 found that Brexit had led to 72% of young people trusting politicians less, but it also found 46% of young people believed the issues surrounding Brexit had made them more likely to vote.
Asked about the Brexit impasse, a total of 59% said they wanted the country to go back to the polls in a fresh referendum, with just 25% believing we should exit with a deal. A further 13% would prefer a deal but would be happy to leave without one – while just 4% wanted a no-deal Brexit.
If a referendum was held tomorrow the same participants would back Remain by 79% with just 14% voting to Leave.
Trudy Kilcullen, CEO of the Essex and London-based Jack Petchey Foundation organisation, said: “During all the debates about Brexit we’ve heard little about what young people think, yet they will be most affected and that is why we thought it was important to ask them. Over 90% of respondents in our survey were under 18 and I’m sure politicians will be concerned that so many young people feel they have not been listened to.
“What is encouraging is that nearly half said it made them more likely to vote in the future. As a society we need to come together with young people and make sure we listen to their opinions to rebuild trust. They have clear views and can contribute to the debate. The Jack Petchey Foundation exists to motivate and inspire young people and we want to see politicians from all sides of the debate show young people they can be part of the conversation shaping the future of our country.”
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, co-founder of For our Future’s Sake (FFS), said the survey findings echoed what they had her from young people during their campaigning.
She said: “This research confirms what FFS has sought to represent in the Brexit debate – that young people feel that it simply does not consider our views. The fact that more young people than ever would vote to remain in the EU today just shows how strongly young people feel about Brexit, and how it damages our future prospects.
“It is disappointing that, although we will live with the consequences of Brexit for the longest, so few of us feel as though our voices are being heard. Young people more than most know that the only way out of this crisis is a People’s Vote, and it’s clear, through this research, that they are more engaged in the debate than ever, desperately wanting the chance to have their opinion count. A People’s Vote is the only option left that can give them this opportunity.”