Page last updated at 01:34 GMT, Monday, 5 April 2010 02:34 UK

'Grey vote' could be election key, research suggests

ballot box (file pic)
Age UK wants more older people to use their vote

Older voters could hold the key to the outcome of the general election, research commissioned by the charity Age UK suggests.

Researchers at De Montfort University predict that four out of 10 potential voters will be older than 55.

A "grey majority" is expected to turn out to vote in more than 300 constituencies, including 94 marginal seats in England, Scotland and Wales,

Age UK says that politicians need to show more commitment to older voters.

'Demand action'

Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, said: "The success of any party in this election depends on their commitment to act on the issues which are most important to older people, who are more likely to vote than any other age group.

"Older people are fed up with second-class services and we will support them to demand action from their local candidates on care, age discrimination, the NHS and pensions."

The charity, which was formed by the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged, has launched a campaign to urge more older voters to turn up at the ballots.


The researchers found that 319 out of the 632 potential seats could be affected, with the older generation having more influence in this election than ever before.

Christchurch in Dorset is predicted to have the highest proportion of older voters - 70.9% - turn out to cast their ballot

But marginal seats where older voters could swing the vote include Sittingbourne and Sheppey in Kent, Clwyd West and Solihull.

Dr Scott Davidson, who led the study said: "Britain will soon possess an age profile never seen before in its history.

"None of this would be significant if older voters were identical in every way to younger voters. But as we already know, they do differ in their electoral behaviour, they vote in larger numbers, and are more likely to lobby MPs than younger voters.

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