Why you should register to vote – and the reason isn’t what you think

Iona Bain

If you haven’t already got onto the electoral roll, take your chance – and not just so you can have your say.

Sure, it is vital that young people are more widely represented in elections of all kinds. You don’t have to be a political scientist to figure out that policymakers will continue to ignore and neglect young people if they don’t turn out in force at the ballot box.

That is one, very real reason why young people are struggling far more than they should be, and why the future doesn’t necessarily look that much better. Take the recent change to the state pension age for young people – three-quarters of 24-year-olds will be worse off than under the present system when they eventually reach state pension age.

Do you think older voters would have let such an iniquity be inflicted on their pension pots? I don’t think so. They have the weight of newspapers (bought mainly by older people) and single issue organisations like Age UK and Saga to make sure that the Treasury doesn’t go too hard on them when it’s forced to make difficult decisions about the country’s finances.

But there is another equally strong reason to get registered – even if you come over all Russell Brand and abstain from voting altogether.

You can seriously harm your credit rating, the little number that is held by credit rating services and observed by the financial industry to suss out how financially responsible you are.

The irony is that you could be very diligent when it comes to paying your rent and bills, but be penalised in your credit rating – i.e. get dragged into the amber or dreaded red zone – simply by being left off the electoral register. The problem is compounded when you’re renting, don’t have a mortgage, unlikely to have a fixed address and not terribly experienced with credit cards.

Does that sound like you? Then you need to check today whether you are needlessly harming your credit rating by being a ‘non-person’ in the eyes of the electoral register.

You can register online, and you are not even obliged to cast your vote come May 5 (or June 23, the day of the all-important EU referendum). Although if you want to see real change in favour of young people…I heartily recommend you do.

There are more tips on how to improve your credit rating in SPARE CHANGE, my first book out in all major book shops and available to buy from Amazon.

Click here to get your copy!

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