THE BLOG
05/02/2015 03:18 GMT | Updated 06/04/2015 06:59 BST

Who Really Holds the Balance of Power in This Election?

People have said that the General Election on 7 May is the most important election in a generation.

In spite of that, there will be many people who won't vote.

The numbers of people voting in the UK has always been low when you compare it to our European neighbours.

In Germany over 70% if people vote. In France and Scandinavian countries it's even higher - with 85% in Sweden and more than 87% in Denmark.

At the last General Election in 2010 in this country just 65% of people voted. The Conservatives (the largest party) got 11million votes. But double that, over 22million people didn't vote. Of those 22million, six million were not even registered to vote.

Why are people in this country so turned off voting? Both anecdotally on the doorstep as well as polls and surveys all confirm: people don't think that their vote matters and that voting doesn't make a difference.

Yet all of these people hold passionate beliefs and many are angry at social injustices.

The sense that Westminster politics isn't for them is strongest among young people, ethnic minorities, those from the poorest backgrounds and women.

To break that down, a recent Hansard survey showed that only a quarter of 18 to 24 year olds were definitely going to vote.

The older you are, the more likely you are to vote, so half of under 40s will vote and four-fifths of those over 75.

Your ethnicity matters too. Only 35% of people from a black or minority ethnic background said they were intending to vote at the next election. That figure jumps to 55% of white voters.

Class also divides us. People from the poorest social groups plus semi, unskilled workers and people who are out of work all together are far less likely to vote.

In the 2010 General Election, over nine million women did not vote. That is one million more than men who didn't vote.

And yet these are the very people who have been disproportionately hit by austerity, by local government cuts, by changes in the NHS, the bedroom tax - in short, by five years of Coalition government.

They are the very people who most rely on our support, help and representation.

We need to give people hope and something worth voting. We will reverse the millionaires' tax cut, repeal the Health and Social Care Act and axe the unfair bedroom tax.

We have campaigned against zero hours contracts, the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) and shown our dedication to protecting rights at work. The media attention on smaller parties and talks of coalitions is misplaced as the balance of power does not lie with the leadership of secondary parties but with voters themselves.

That is why Voter Registration Day today is so important. Many different groups and organisations have come together to encourage people to make sure they are eligible to vote.

Voters will have the chance to make a change for the better this May but to do that you must register before 20 April 2015.

Use your vote to make sure your voice is heard.

Natascha Engel is the Labour MP for North East Derbyshire and executive member of the Trade Union Group of MPs

The Trade Union Group of MPs is a vehicle for promoting the voices of working people in Parliament, working with a wide range of MPs and trade unionists to push the political agenda on to the side of working people