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Recently BYC volunteers went to the Youth Budget Conference, “Paying for it”, an event to discuss young people’s opinions on this year’s government budget. There was a panel who took questions, this was made up of MPs David Gauke, James Morris and Kate Green, Carl Emmerson (Deputy Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies), and James Cathcart (CEO of the British Youth Council). The event ended with Isaac Warburton (winner of the Citizenship Foundations “Chance to be Chancellor” competition) handing a Youth Budget Report giving the opinions of the young people involved in “Chance to be Chancellor” to the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

I found many of the opinions in the Youth Budget Report surprising. Sixty nine percent of young people involved in “Chance to be Chancellor” would cut more than the government to reduce spending and the deficit. I had assumed that since young people are so reliant on government services, they would be well aware of the impact of government cuts.

One of the British Youth Council’s priority campaigns, as chosen by young people, is “Save our services”, a campaign to reduce the impact of government cuts on youth services. Someone from the Citizenship Foundation, at the end of the event, admitted to us that the young people involved in the Youth Budget Report 2012 and “Chance to be Chancellor” competition were not a representative group of young people[1], which might explain the differences. As the report was only given to the government very shortly before the budget came into force, I doubt that there was time for it to be considered by the government. Otherwise, I might worry about which young people were allowed to speak for us all, and why.

The budget itself, which passed into law last Wednesday, was controversial because of the reduction of higher rate tax, at a time when ordinary people are facing severe cuts.[2] If anyone’s interested in more detail on the latest budget as a whole, I’d recommend the guardian’s diagram, or more detailed tables.


[1] It seemed to me that there was a surprisingly low number of Black and Minority Ethnic young people, young people from lower income families, and young people with disabilities at the event.

[2]A few links to give you an idea of the cuts I’m talking about.   Welfare Reform, children and people with disabilities or Sexual Health Services or EMA or charging people to use the Child Support Agency. These are just the ones I could find in a hurry – I’m sure there are more that I don’t know about, or couldn’t find a decent source for.

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