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LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEK: WESTMINSTER ASKS IF IT IS TIME WE TRUSTED THE YOUNG WITH THE VOTE

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Westminster City Council is posing the question: should the right to vote be ...
Westminster City Council is posing the question: should the right to vote be

extended to the young?

During Local Democracy Week, the council is polling residents on its website

- www.westminster.gov.uk - asking two questions: should the voting age be

lowered to 16, and should younger people be eligible for election as a

councillor or MP? (the current minimum age is 21) Visit to cast your vote.

The council is also running a competition, through schools, for 13-19-year-

olds. Posing the question: 'What would you change in Westminster if you

were a councillor?' the council hopes to receive some interesting and

thought-provoking answers. Teachers will make time to explain to students

how local democracy works and what the council does.

One winner from each secondary school in Westminster will have an

opportunity to question the leader, Simon Milton, and leader of the

opposition, Simon Stockill, over lunch at City Hall, before an afternoon

tour of the state-of-the-art CCTV centre in the Trocadero. Each winner will

also receive two free tickets to the Odeon, Leicester Square, courtesy of the management.

Graham Ellis, director of policy and communications, said:'Local Democracy

Week has arrived at the right time. Debates are raging in the newspapers about council tax, schools, regional assemblies and central government intervention

in local government issues.

'Now is a good time to ask whether the voting age should be lowered to 16.

At that age, young people can work and pay their taxes - is this a good

argument for extending them the right to vote?

'Lowering the voting age to 16 for local elections would introduce people to

the democratic process two years before they became eligible to vote for the

national government.'

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