BRITAIN is suffering from a “democratic imbalance” with older people outvoting younger generations by millions of votes to set the country’s political future, new research shows today.

Analysis by the independent think-tank, the Resolution Foundation, calculates that in the 2015 General Election baby-boomers - those born between 1946 and 1965 - cast over four million votes more than younger millennials - those born between 1981 and 2000.

This meant, says the Foundation, the grey vote’s large population and high turnout gave them a significant "ballot box advantage" against younger voters, who were a third less likely to vote.

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Following the EU referendum in June, research by pollster YouGov showed the under-25s were more than twice as likely to vote Remain - 71 per cent - than Leave - 29 per cent but among the over-65s the picture was reversed with 64 per cent of over-65s having voted to Leave while only 36 per cent voted to Remain.

However, crucially, further post-poll analysis showed that while 64 per cent of under-25s voted in the In-Out referendum, among those aged over 65 turnout was 90 per cent. The UK as a whole voted 52 to 48 per cent for Brexit.

Last week, Nick Clegg, the former Deputy Prime Minister, warned that the generational “imbalance” could no longer be ignored.

“If the question on the[EU referendum] ballot paper can be regarded as a simple choice about the long-term future of our country, the result was a striking slap in the face of those who will actually inhabit that future: the young,” he said.

The Foundation is calling for more focus on addressing the generational gap, given the "profound implications" it could have for government policy.

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Referring to the analysis of the 2015 election turnout, Laura Gardiner, a senior research and policy analyst at the foundation, said: "This poor turnout among young people is a deep-rooted problem, dating back to the mid-90s when young generation X-ers[those born between 1966 and 1980] started turning away from the polling booth.

"This generational divide in turnout matters for our democracy but also has profound implications for policy if politicians feel they only need to target the votes of older generations to win power.”

She stressed our society needed to explore ways to “correct the democratic imbalance before the voting pool shrinks to a puddle”.

Ms Gardiner added: "Ideas such as first-time compulsory voting with the option to not select any candidate, making voter registration easier, voting online and lowering the voting age are not silver bullets but may help reverse this worrying trend."

The research shows the turnout gap between the generations was just three percentage points in 1964 but by 2005 it had jumped to 26 percentage points between those in retirement – aged between 66 and 80 - and those in early adulthood – aged between 21 and 35. The gap has remained close to that level ever since.

In last year's election, 10.6 million baby boomers voted, around two-thirds of the generation's population. But this compares to only 6.4m millennials, just 46 per cent of those, who could have voted.

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In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, when 16 and 17-year-olds had the chance to vote, analysis showed among those under 25 some 51 per cent voted No and 49 per cent voted Yes while among those over 65 the respective numbers were 73 to 27. Turnout among 16 and 17 year olds was 75 per cent, among 18 to 24-year-olds it was 54 per cent and for those over 55 it was 92 per cent.

The Foundation’s report also identifies a link between voting and home ownership, with those who own a home more likely to vote than renters across all generations. It suggested this could mean more millennials start voting as more of them climb onto the property ladder.

The research found this drop-off in voting coincides with growing disillusionment with political parties and the democratic process.

In 1992, 74 per cent of younger voters said they cared which party won the election but last year the figure had fallen to 56 per cent. Over this same period, the proportion of those in retirement who said they cared about who won power had risen slightly - to 81 per cent.

Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution said: "We currently have 46.5 million people on the electoral register - the highest figure at any point in its history. But if we are to have a democracy that works for everyone, we have to recognise registration as a social justice issue.

"We will continue to engage more and more young people in democracy through support to energetic campaigns, and this Autumn I will set out in detail the Government's vision for driving up democratic engagement."