Chance to be Chancellor

Just as night follows day, yesterday’s pre-launch of Chance to be Chancellor was followed today by this year’s Budget being called for the 12th March.

The pre-launch event of our new competition was led by a crack team made up from Citizenship Foundation and Norwich Union staff, the Times newspaper and the excellent teachers of Skinners Companys School for Girls in London. Skinners Year 10 Citizenship class got the chance to be the first young people to complete the activities and create entries for the competition.

Chance to be Chancellor does exactly what it says on the tin: the chance for young people to fill the boots of the Chancellor and see how they fare in deciding how to spend public money.

Those who cut the best deals on government policy and can justify them to the nation in their budget speech stand to win a Nintendo Wii or an iPod Touch, with nine runners up getting digital radios.

The winner will also see their speech published in The Times newspaper, and have the opportunity to spend the day at the business desk seeing their work put into print.

But it’s not all about the prizes! It’s about pulling the reins of economic decision making from the “stuffy suits”, and placing them in the hands of young people to help them make sense of the world around them.

I was genuinely impressed with how the students at Skinners were keen to have their say. It wasn’t just sounding off – it was the weighing of decisions on prevention or prescription, considering the balances of health and crime, young and old.

And at the end of a session that began with me holding up an image of Alistair Darling to the class, I felt the students gained a sense that economics isn’t boring “mumbo jumbo”, but the key to unlocking prosperity and a better quality of life for all.

And maybe they also sensed that being Chancellor is tough, but someone has to do it. And to end on that note, the Chancellor was kind enough give his thoughts on our competition, stating:

“This is a great initiative. It gives young people across the country a chance to consider the big choices we have to make for this country and then take the decisions that will influence the lives of every one of us. I hope people enjoy the chance to be Chancellor. It’s one of the best jobs in Britain.”
Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer

If you are 14-18, or a teacher of this age group, and you want the Chance to be Chancellor, go to Paying for It and find out more.

The deadline for entries is the 29th February 2008.

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

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