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Anti-poverty campaigners urge people to register to vote

Stock image – polling station (Yui Mok/PA Wire).
Stock image – polling station (Yui Mok/PA Wire).

Anti-poverty campaigners urged people to register for the General Election amid fears low-income households are least likely to vote.

The Poverty Alliance warned voters on low incomes were being shut out of the political process, and said trust as well as voter turnout is falling as a result.

It launched a Vote Your Values campaign on Monday, with posters, infographics, and online resources to educate about the process of registering, voting with photo ID, and applying for postal votes in Scotland.

The resources have been shared with nearly 500 individuals and organisations, ahead of the deadline of June 18 to register to vote.

A recent report by think-tank IPPR highlighted figures showing a turnout gap of 18% between voters in the top third of incomes, and those in the bottom third in 2020.

It warned that this General Election is set to be the most unequal for more than six decades.

Mid Bedfordshire by-election
People were urged to register to vote before June 18 (Joe Giddens/PA Wire).

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “This election is predicted to be the most unequal in 60 years, with those living on low incomes among the least likely to vote. They are being locked out of democracy because they’re being locked out of society.

“The concerns of people on low incomes often don’t feature in election debates.

“They are overlooked and misrepresented.

“Despite the rhetoric – people see little real change in their communities. So it’s not surprising that trust in politicians and our system is falling, and lower turnout amongst people on low incomes reflects that decline.

“We need to begin to restore that trust in politics by delivering meaningful improvements in the lives of people in poverty.

“Our politics must begin to better reflect the urgent problems of poverty that millions across the UK face.

“At the same time, we need to do more to encourage participation in elections as a key step in holding our politicians to account.”

He added: “We want people to register to vote before the June 18 deadline for the General Election.

“But we also want politicians to think hard about the direction they are taking us in, and for all of us to come up with ways to renew and restore our democracy.”

IPPR report author Dr Parth Patel said: “For the first time since the birth of democracy in this country, people do not expect their children to be better off than them.

“In the face of insecurity, people naturally want control, to take back control of a political process that has allowed wages to fall after flatlining for a decade, and locked generations out of owning a home.

“There are real differences in who gets their way in our democracy.

“Policy is more responsive to preferences of the well-heeled than of the worse off, and people know this – but it seems to be a blind spot for most politicians.

“No matter who’s in power, our democratic machine needs rewiring.

“If people are once again to be authors of their own lives, and to feel secure, they must sense their influence in the collective decision-making endeavour that is democracy.”