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Vote your values, urge anti-poverty campaigners

ANTI-POVERTY campaigners are urging low-income households to get on the electoral register ahead of the June 18 general election deadline.

Scottish anti-poverty network, the Poverty Alliance has launched its Vote Your Values campaign amid long-standing concerns that the poorest in society do not vote, and growing disquiet at the disenfranchising effects the Tory rules requiring photo ID could have on those on the lowest incomes.

A recent report by think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), showed a turnout gap of a staggering 18 per cent between voters in the top third of incomes, and those in the bottom third in 2020, and warned July’s election could be the most unequal in more than six decades.

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.

“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.”

Launching their campaign, which will share resources on an offline process of registering, voting with photo ID, and applying for postal votes in Scotland, with nearly 500 individuals and organisations, 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 among people on low incomes reflects that decline.”

Mr Kelly said there is a need to “begin to restore that trust in politics by delivering meaningful improvements in the lives of people in poverty.”

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

“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.”

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