Headlines: March 11th, 2004

Most young people want the government to be tougher on crime, including taking a stronger stand against drugs, and they want better education for all but do not trust the present government to deliver improved standards in state schools.These are among the wide-ranging findings of The Young People’s Survey of Great Britain published today. It has been commissioned by “Bliss” magazine and is said to be the largest and most comprehensive national survey of how young people feel about themselves the Government, crime, education, the Royal Family, Europe and many other topics. The study involved a wide cross-section of 5,000 young people, with an average age of 15 from all parts of the United Kingdom.

The results show they want a Britain that is tougher on crime, drugs, Europe and bogus asylum seekers as well as on underage sex and abortions. Eighty-four per cent want harsher punishments for adult criminals and seven out of ten would like to see sterner treatment of young offenders. Almost 80 per cent support the idea of carrying identity cards and 68 per cent are opposed to the legalisation of cannabis.

They support the idea of better education for all but less than a quarter think they are getting ‘very good’ state education and 74 per cent believe private schools are better. More than three-quarters of those questioned do not have faith in the current government to improve standards in state schools. Two thirds of the teenagers think young people would be better off training for jobs rather than going to university. Just over half think university standards are falling and almost 8 out of 10 say they will be put off going into higher education by tuition fees.

Almost 90 per cent of the youngsters said they would look after their parents when they become old and about the same number believe the government does not care about elderly people.

Helen Johnston, editor of “Bliss” says, “Young people have passionate beliefs about the society they want to live in and it’s not the one they’ve got. They want a society they can trust, one that cares about their welfare and can bring about the higher standards they demand.”