Tories urged to embrace tax policies to woo younger voters

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Scrapping tax on flights for under-30s could help the Conservatives win back younger voters lost to Labour, a free market think tank has said.

The Government should reform the so-called Ibiza Tax, the Air Passenger Duty paid by those over the age of 16 but under 30, which would reduce the cost of air travel and make it easier for young people to travel and work abroad, the Adam Smith Institute said.

It accused the Tories of "neglecting" the young in the face of a generational rift on issues such as housing, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was credited with capitalising on the youth vote during the general election.

Sam Bowman, Adam Smith Institute executive director, said: "It isn't easy being young in Britain.

"Houses are mostly unaffordable, rents are high and most high-quality jobs are in the most expensive parts of the country.

"For all but a very lucky few, times are tough.

"But the Conservatives have ignored this and ignored the concerns of young voters, both neglecting their wellbeing directly and taking positions that are badly out of touch in areas like animal welfare and openness to immigration.

"Today's paper should start a conversation in the Government and the Conservative Party at large about how to win back some of the younger voters lost to Corbyn, both in terms of specific policies that might improve young people's prospects by raising their spending power, cutting their rents and giving them better access to the public services they need, and in terms of a wider culture shift that puts the priorities and problems of young people at the heart of Conservative governance."

Air passenger duty accounts for more than £13 per flight under 2,000 miles, rising to £75 per flight on longer-haul routes, despite improvements in fuel efficiency, the thinktank said in a new report, entitled A Millennial Manifesto.

It also suggested a lower rate of national insurance for the young and reform to the housing market to ensure the cost of government is more evenly spread.

Madsen Pirie, Adam Smith Institute president and manifesto author, said: "Older people have done very well from recent governments.

"And some have suggested that there is now an imbalance.

"There are many things that governments could do to help young people.

"The Conservatives should look at innovative policies, like reducing the cost of travelling and making it easier to work abroad, to win over young voters."