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Free Speech - Live from Manchester

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James Emtage James Emtage | 11:22 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2012

If we had a quid for every time we used the line 'Mum, Dad, please can I borrow some money?' we'd probably all be millionaires.

But we're not all millionaires. In fact a lot of people are in debt, and in an exclusive Free Speech survey, 40% of those 16-25 year olds we asked who are in debt admitted they are worried about it.

And that's hardly surprising considering 23% of people who took part in the survey said they think it will take more than 15 years to pay back the money they owe.

No doubt parents are worried too, as the survey showed more than a third of young people are more financially dependent on their parents than they expected to be.

We think these shocking statistics need talking about. So, tonight Free Speech will be live in Manchester to debate the issues surrounding debt, alongside the other big topics of the moment such as the booing of George Osborne at the Paralympics, the publishing of Prince Harry's naked photos, and the overhaul of the Disability Living Allowance.

Joining us tonight we have a top notch team of expert panellists:

Francesca Martinez

Francesca Martinez - You may recognise Francesca from her Grange Hill or Extras days as she's an actress and comedian. She is currently touring the UK with a show that addresses what 'normality' means today.



Ben Howlett

Ben Howlett – As the National Chairman of Conservative Future, Ben works with young people who are up and coming Conservatives and encourages debate from a more youthful perspective.



John Leech

John Leech – Liberal Democrat MP for Withington in Manchester, John plays for the Parliamentary Football Team (who knew) but started his career flipping burgers in McDonalds.



Shiv Malik

Shiv Malik - Nominated by the Evening Standard as one of the most influential Londoners, Shiv is an investigative journalist for The Guardian. He writes about political issues affecting young people and is known for his reporting on terrorism.


As the panel get stuck into the debate, you can let them know if you agree or disagree with their points by powering up our Twitter-activated Power Bar. It's so simple – you couldn’t make a hash (tag) of it if you tried. (Sorry...)


Tweet #YesName if you like what a panellist is saying and tweet #NoName if you don't. The Power Bar moves in real time on the show and gives a voice to those of you watching and shouting at the screen.

Here are the #hashtags you need to know:

Francesca Martinez -                  #YesFran #NoFran

Ben Howlett - #YesBen #NoBen

John Leech -                 #YesJohn #NoJohn

Shiv Malik - #YesShiv #NoShiv

If Twitter's not your bag then get involved on Facebook where all of the questions will be debated live along with the show. Or simply leave your comments in the space below.

As if these juicy topics and expert line-up weren't enough for one show, we will also be revealing our brand-tastic new set and introducing this month’s social media jockey, Tinea Taylor.

Tinea Taylor

Tinea will be taking charge of the Free Speech social-media-sphere, bringing the online debate to the studio floor. Not only is she is addicted to social media, but as Rinse FM’s breakfast show presenter she is used to getting her voice heard live on a daily basis. But now she’s here to get YOUR voice heard so make sure you say your piece on Twitter or Facebook or in the comments below this blog.

Let the debate begin...

  • Free Speech is on tonight, Tuesday 11th September, at 8pm, live on BBC Three.
  • The poll was conducted by ComRes who telephone interviewed 500 16-25 year olds in Great Britain between 2nd and 12th July 2012. Full data tables can be found here.


  • Comment number 1.

    i personally am not relaint financially on my parants i am 22 and married i got pregnant when i was 18 had my son when i was 19 and married my sons father when when i was 20, i have never been reliant on my parents financially, there is no excuse for it it all comes down to budgeting we are all feeling the pinch and should budget more

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm a student with a large debt, however I have a very sought-after skill in the working world that most students do not have, I am very thankful that I have these skills, I come from a poor family but my skills are what will get me out of debt and these are things that are not taught at school.
    I am a video game programmer and it is a highly-paid, highly wanted skill that was never taught to me or even introduced to me as an option during my education.

    Schools need to teach people the skills that will get them the work that will pull them out of debt.

    Pay-day-loans should be banned from advertising, frankly.

  • Comment number 3.

    I suffer from PTSD .On my last assessment was asked who I share my problems with when I answered no-one I was aked whether I say goodmorning to my neighbours . because i do say goodmorning to them I was assessed as being fit although I have suffer with this condition for over five years. thanks ada.

  • Comment number 4.

    Benefits for people with health problems is an absolute joke. The benefits system is enough to make anyone with health issues worse. Atos healthcare making people fit for work when they clearly can't work. They are paid £100,000,000 a year with £42,000,000 profit last year. The battle then continues with the tribunal as the decision makers within the DWP are not capable of making decisions for themselves. 40%of all claims taken to tribunal are in the claimants favour. An absolute waste of tax payers money. I know this all from experience and I still continue to fight. Something needs to change.

  • Comment number 5.

    Ben Howlett's response to Fran's question on 'tax reform' was pitiful. Taxing large houses will generate peanuts compared to the tax that should be collected from the enormous corporations such as Vodafone. If the tax that is owed was collected from the huge companies there would be no recession and no deficit.

  • Comment number 6.

    Thank you for the programme tonight. I have written a blog that was inspired from it:

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    In respect to the life guard invention i think he did not sell him self or the product, whitch i can resolve for 1 the tide is a very powerful force. But for 1 it gives the life guard more energy to think and with the propeller at the front makes the guard lighter and easyer to cut through the waves. Plus the more weight on the back equals more up thrust keeping both persons a-flote and thus saving lives! It is a sound idea but under sold


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