Young people prioritised education and health spending in first ever Youth Budget

Article date: 31 March 2011

  • Of all areas of public spending, young people chose to invest most significantly in education
  • 80% of young people chose to cut spending on welfare by up to £10 billion
  • Young people chose to cut the deepest in the areas of ‘culture, media and sport’ and ‘housing and environment’

Today the first ever Youth Budget, representing the voices of 1,363[1] young people aged between 14 and 18, was presented to Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury. The Youth Budget brings together the results of the Chance to be Chancellor challenge, an online interactive tool which invited young people to give their opinions on public spending in eight key areas. Chance to be Chancellor is part of the Paying for It programme, an economic awareness education run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with Aviva.

Faced with the need to tackle the budget deficit, the vast majority of young people (84%) recognised the need to cut public spending, choosing to make cuts, on average, of 5% (£35 billion) over the current Spending Review cycle.

Education and health suffered the least stringent cuts with young people prioritising spending on education (69%) and health (76%). However other areas, most notably culture, media and sport, and housing and environment, suffered particularly harsh cuts with 30% of young people opting to cut spending in these areas by 40%. Another area where young people chose to cut deeply was welfare, with 80% of participants opting to cut spending by up to £10 billion (5%).

Commenting on the Youth Budget, Andy Thornton, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation, said: “These findings demonstrate that, when informed, young people can take difficult decisions about how to manage the economy, which at the moment requires decisions about where the deepest public spending cuts should take place. Young people have a valuable and interesting contribution to make to this important public debate. This is evident in the choices they made around prioritisation of spending. When it came to the crunch, they decided to very much focus on spending in the here and now (health and education) rather than investing in issues which may have a longer term impact on the economy, such as the environment. 

“As voters of the future, it is incumbent on the Government to pay attention to the voice of young people. The Youth Budget is an attempt to channel that voice so that young people get their say on significant economic issues of the day.”

Youth Chancellor announced

Presenting the Youth Budget to Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury was this year’s Youth Chancellor, Priyesh Patel – age 15 – of Twyford Church of England High School, London. Out of 249 young people who entered the competition to make the case for their Budget, Priyesh Patel’s entry impressed the panel of judges with his explanation of why and how public spending should be prioritised in these austere times.

Gary Price, UK Marketing Director at Aviva said: “The quality of the submissions for the Chance to be Chancellor competition is a testament to the great work that the Paying for It programme brings to educating and engaging young people on important economic and political decisions of the day. Aviva is proud to work in partnership with the Citizenship Foundation on this programme and is committed to ensuring that young people are equipped with a good financial and economic understanding.”

The Youth Budget
The full Youth Budget can be downloaded here:

2,826 young people aged 14 to 18 from across the UK participated in the Chance to be Chancellor online challenge to create their own Budget for the country. The challenge was open from January to March 2011. Four ‘advisers’, each with a different perspective on the best way forward, were on hand to inform their decisions and offer policy options to choose from. Using the online tool, young people submitted their preferred options for public spending in each of eight key areas. The results of these views have been collated to produce the first ever ‘Youth Budget’.

Media contact

For more information on the launch of the Youth Budget:

Ross Gillam, Hill & Knowlton, tel: 0207 413 3000 or email

For more information on the Paying for It programme, including Chance to be Chancellor and the Youth Budget:

Ruth Dwight, Citizenship Foundation, tel: 020 7566 5038 or email

Robert Geddis, Citizenship Foundation, tel: 020 7566 4136 or email

For more information on the Citizenship Foundation:

Emma Doyle, Citizenship Foundation, tel: 0207 566 4134 or email

For more information on Aviva:

Jenny Chapman at Aviva, tel: 01603 689894 or email


[1] 2,826 young people took part in the Chance to be Chancellor challenge. The Youth Budget used a sample of 1,363 who registered their details and confirmed their age as 14-18.

Notes to Editors

About the Citizenship Foundation
The Citizenship Foundation is an independent education and participation charity (registered charity no 801360.) that aims to encourage and enable individuals to engage in democratic society. Founded in 1989, our particular focus is on developing young people’s citizenship skills, knowledge and understanding of the law, democracy and public life. We do this by championing civic participation, supporting teachers and schools with the delivery of citizenship education and by working with young people in community-settings on issues that concern them.

Economic awareness is a concept we use to describe individuals' knowledge, understanding and perceptions of the national economy. In particular, it looks at how the nation's economy works, how central government shapes it, how it impacts on society and how individuals' decisions impact on it.

For more information please visit:

Stay in touch with news, events, new resources and developments at the Citizenship Foundation. Sign up here to subscribe to our monthly e-bulletin

About Paying for It

Paying for It was developed in 2007 by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with Aviva, to support and enrich citizenship teaching around economics. The programme includes a website hosting a series of free lesson plans for teachers on topics from government and economy, health and education, along with free teacher training. Paying for It also includes a volunteer scheme placing Aviva employees into local secondary schools to facilitate the teaching and learning using the programme resources. Chance to be Chancellor is the focal point of the Paying for It programme, providing an online educational platform to engage young people with public spending.

For more information please visit:

About Aviva

Aviva is one of the world's largest insurance groups* serving over 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

Aviva's main business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £47.1 billion and funds under management of £402 billion.

With 19.2 million customers we are the largest insurance services provider in the UK and one of the leading providers of life and pensions products in Europe.  Aviva takes care of its customers by helping them look after their future, protecting what’s important – from their health to their homes, their cars to their business – and saving for the future.

Aviva has a 10.5%** share of the UK life and pensions market and insures one in six homes and one in ten cars in the UK. It is also one of the oldest UK insurers, with a heritage stretching back more than 300 years.

RAC, which is owned by Aviva, provides breakdown and insurance services for individuals and businesses and has around seven million customers.

Aviva is ranked in the top 10 percent of socially responsible companies globally by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2010 we invested £4.3m into our communities, which included 1,500 Aviva UK volunteers giving 24,000 hours for good causes. In addition, our employees gave £600,000 through fundraising and donating. Read our corporate responsibility report at

Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life. Find out more at

The Aviva media centre at includes images, company and product information and a news release archive.

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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2010

**Source: ABI data released August 2010

Read our corporate responsibility report:

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