The British Youth Council are excited to welcome the new minister responsible for youth policy, Tracey Crouch MP. Crouch is taking over the Office for Civil Society following the departure of Rob Wilson who has been in charge of the brief since 2014.
The British Youth Council have worked under various Government departments since 2011 to deliver it’s Youth Voice programme. The Youth Voice programme, which is currently supported by Department for Culture, Media and Sport, includes UK Youth Parliament and Youth Select Committee.
The British Youth Council will be writing to welcome the Minister to the new role, however, will be highlighting concerns for the size of the brief which will include other responsibilities. It is our longstanding belief, that the Government should appoint a Minister solely responsible for young people – a role which has not existed since 2010.
Ife Grillo, Vice Chair – Participation and Development, British Youth Council said: “We can’t wait to continue our work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport but we are particularly concerned about the size of Tracey Crouch’s brief and we’ll be seeking out reassurances at the earliest opportunity! We have repeatedly made it clear we believe a Minister for Youth should be appointed and we’ll be using this opportunity to highlight that issue again.”
We will also use this opportunity to remind the Government of the six issues we highlighted in the lead-up to the General Election which included the underfunding of youth services and the ensuring young people have a meaningful opportunity to influence Brexit negotiations which are due to start next week.
Anna Barker, Chair, British Youth Council said: “We look forward to working with Tracey Crouch going forward, to ensure young people’s voices continued to be heard by the Government. With the reported increase in young people turning up to cast their votes, it’s absolutely imperative that young people are given a chance to influence Government policy going forward!”
The British Youth Council is partnering with ‘LifeSkills created with Barclays’ for the next 12 months to help young people build skills for work. Today’s job landscape is getting really competitive for young people and employers are increasingly looking for a rich variety of experiences and skills in new recruits in addition to qualifications.
LifeSkills and the British Youth Council have co-created new resources for educators and young people on how to get involved in social action and to recognise how the skills build through this activity can be linked to employability and help to enhance young peoples’ job prospects.
Taking part in social action is a fantastic way for young people to build transferable skills that will help them stand out to employers, with recent research showing that participants of social action are 27% more likely to find a job. Importantly, social action will also help those young people develop as individuals while giving back to their community and society.
Anna Barker, Chair, British Youth Council said: “We know that now more than ever, young people need the correct skills to unlock opportunities for employment in such a competitive market”
The British Youth Council continue to be strong advocates for equipping young people with these skills to empower them to take charge of their future – so we’re excited to be working with LifeSkills on this programme.”
The motivation behind the LifeSkills programme is to inspire millions of young people and equip them with the key skills to move forward into the 21st century workplace. LifeSkills brings together educators, businesses, young people and parents to achieve this, as increasingly young people need to leave education not only with appropriate academic results but with the skills that we know businesses need now and in the future as technology reshapes our working world.
The British Youth Council are delighted to hear reports of a high youth turnout in the General Election. Politicians must drop their excuses and address young people’s concerns during this Parliament.
Decision makers across the country have repeatedly told young people that their voices will continue to be less of a priority until they turnout in elections. Now that young people have turned up, Members of Parliament must not only acknowledge young people but actively include them in the democratic process.
The British Youth Council wrote to political parties ahead of the General Election requesting their firm commitments to the six priorities set out in our General Election Manifesto. Young people want better mental health provision for young people, the introduction of a real living wage for everyone, the restoration of funding for youth services and an opportunity to influence Brexit negotiations.
Anna Barker, Chair, British Youth Council said: “Politicians have repeatedly told us our issues will become a priority when young people turnout. Young people have now sent a clear message! Members of Parliament must now address the core issues of young people!”
We’ve been warning politicians that they must use our vote or loose and this election may just serve as a share wake up call!”
The British Youth Council will be working hard to lobby Parliament and the Government – ensuring that young people’s issues remain a priority. Going forward the British Youth Council will be writing to the Prime Minister and the newly appointed Minister responsible for youth policy to ensure young people can influence policy at the highest levels of the Government.
Jake Pitt, Vice Chair – Campaigns and Communications, British Youth Council said: “It is now important that we continue to work closely with Government departments to address the key issues and ensure young people have a meaningful opportunity to influence our exit from the European Union. The election is just the beginning of the cycle, now we need to hold politicians to account!”
The British Youth Council today calls on all 18-24-year-olds to make their mark in polling booths across the country, as they seek to mobilise more young voters than previous elections, following attempts across the youth sector to get politicians to make firm commitments to young people ahead of the General Election.
Anna Rose Barker, Chair, British Youth Council said: “A huge amount is at stake in this General Election. Not only will the next Government decide on our domestic policies they will steer our exit from the European Union. Young people do care about politics but there’s no better way to show it than turning up! Your vote really does matter, use it!”
Young voters have until 10pm to vote and if you’re still undecided whether to vote – check out what the political parties had to say in response to our six demands.
Anna went on to say: “To raise the profile of the issues we care about and to demand they’re addressed, we must show up!”
Tomorrow the British Youth Council will be reminding the new Government to keep their promises to young people – especially those relating the six priority issues set out in our General Election Manifesto; “16: a new for democracy”, “Our minds matter, “Living wage for everyone”, “Save our youth services”, “Teach first aid in schools” and “Brexit negotiations”.
The British Youth Council is looking for people aged 16-25 who are motivated by a belief in the work of the British Youth Council to achieve our vision of the world where all young people are respected and able to influence and inform decisions that affect their lives or on which they have strong opinions.
The British Youth Council really is governed by young people for young people. Our board of trustees is made up of 13 people elected by delegates from our members. The board not only sets the strategic direction of the organisation, monitors progress, they shape our activities, and act as ambassadors and spokespeople for the British Youth Council in the media and elsewhere.
While your first goal as a trustee is to serve your peers and the British Youth Council, it is also a way to build your experience and networks, develop a broad range of skills and help shape the future of a world where all young people have a say and are heard.
We would encourage all ages to apply bringing both representations of those we serve alongside experience of governance. The British Youth Council needs a diverse, inclusive spread of ages and talents.
The deadline for applications is Tuesday 4th July 2017 at 12 noon, so be quick!
Political parties have responded to the British Youth Council’s vision for a better country. The manifesto ‘Our Vision, Our Parliament’, which was published last week, outlines the key issues young people across the UK are demanding answers on.
The publication of the manifesto forms part of the British Youth Council’s attempts to get political parties to make firm commitments to young people. Within the manifesto we call on the next Government to address the issues that matter to young people. Young people want better mental health provision for young people and among other issues want an opportunity to influence Brexit negotiations.
The responses we have received have been published to support young people who may be undecided or unaware of each party’s position. Some political parties had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. In those cases, we have sourced information from their 2017 General Election manifesto.
The British Youth Council is launching ‘Our Vision, Our Parliament’, a manifesto which outlines our vision for the next Parliament. The manifesto sets out the six priorities that we want the next government to address the issues of young people including better mental health provision for young people and an opportunity for young people to influence Brexit negotiations.
Young people want the voting age to be lowered to 16, mental health services for young people to be improved, the introduction of a real living wage for everyone, the restoration of funding for youth services, first aid taught in schools and the opportunity to actively participate and meaningfully engage in the Brexit negotiations.
The British Youth Council has written to 17 political parties – including the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, SNP and Labour. Each party has been asked to respond with their thoughts on our top six issues. All responses will be published ahead of polling day on June 8th.
The manifesto forms part of our wider General Election campaign calling on politicians to not just talk about young people but to listen to their concerns and do something about them. Following the General Election, the British Youth Council will be lobbying the Government and calling on politicians to keep their promises to young people.
Anna Barker, Chair, British Youth Council said: “It’s imperative that candidates across the country listen to the issues that young people are passionate about and tell young people what they plan to do about their priorities. I’m really looking forward to hearing back from each political party so we can share their responses with young people.”
The British Youth Council’s Youth Select Committee today (Friday 19th May 2017) announces a new inquiry into body image. The Committee is calling for evidence from a wide range of witnesses, including organisations and interested parties, as well as young people who have been affected by body image issues.
The Youth Select Committee, now in its sixth year, is a British Youth Council initiative supported by the House of Commons. The eleven committee members are aged 14-18 and include Members of the Youth Parliament, Youth Councillors, a Youth Mayor and representatives from each of the devolved nations. Body image was one of the top ten issues voted for by almost one million young people in UK Youth Parliament’s Make Your Mark ballot in 2016.
The committee will look at issues including:
- Does the Government have a responsibility to discourage the use of social media, the internet and communications platforms in ways which promote poor body image? What should it be doing in this regard?
- Do internet companies, social media platforms or other platforms have a responsibility to tackle trends which entrench poor body image? What are they already doing in this area? What more should they be doing?
- Are particular groups of young people particularly prone to poor body image, or less likely to seek help? What causes these trends?
- To what extent is dissatisfaction with body image contributing to the increase in mental health problems amongst children and young people?
Thomas Copeland, 18, Chair of the Youth Select Committee said: “This year the Youth Select Committee will be examining Body Image. Body Image has become an issue of considerable concern for young people, so it is crucial that they are given a voice on this important subject. We are really looking forward to hearing what young people and professionals highlight as the key areas of potential policy improvement throughout the inquiry.”
The Committee’s call for evidence closes on 16th June 2017 and the Youth Select Committee will hold oral evidence sessions in the House of Commons on 7th and 14th July 2017.
The Government have confirmed they have no plans to introduce a lowering voting age of 16 for the General Election which will take place on Thursday 8th June 2017. The British Youth Council are disappointed to learn that yet again 1.5 million 16 and 17-year-olds will be denied a vote.
In response to a petition calling for the voting age to be lowered, the Government states ‘the House of Commons has debated the question of lowering the voting age in a number of contexts, and has repeatedly voted against lowering it.’ Regrettably, 16 and 17-year-olds will not just miss out on the snap election, but will also miss out on the May elections which will see the election of six newly-created combined authority mayors.
Since the Scottish Independence Referendum, in which 16 and 17-year-olds were given a vote, young people have been turned away from casting their vote on eight separate occasions, without including the numerous by-elections. In 2014, 75% of 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland voted in the independence referendum, a vote that set a precedent and should serve as proof that when young people feel they have an authentic opportunity to influence change they will take part.
Over the past 14 years, the Votes at 16 Coalition have been tracking support for a lower voting age. Their research indicates all Members of Scottish Parliament in unanimous support, huge increases in support within the House of Lords and over 40% of Members of Parliament declaring their support for votes at 16. We’re hoping the common sense argument will prevail – alongside a ‘curriculum for life’ with citizenship/political education and easy voter registration, votes at 16 is not only good for the future of democracy but a necessary change.
Anna Barker, Chair of the British Youth Council said: “It’s disappointing that 16 and 17-year-olds will be denied a chance to vote in one of the most important elections of our lifetime. A precedent was set following the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014, and yet eight elections later 16 and 17-year-olds across the UK still haven’t been entrusted with the vote.
“It is extremely regrettable that the common sense argument has not prevailed. When young people feel they have an authentic opportunity to influence change they will take part.”
Last week Members of Parliament backed the Prime Minster’s bid for a snap election on Thursday 8th June 2017. In an open letter sent to all political parties, organisations from across the youth sector are now calling on all party leaders to make a firm commitment to young people across the country.
The open letter, which is signed by the British Youth Council and other leading youth organisations, requests party leaders make an explicit commitment to represent young people’s demands in their upcoming manifestos. At a time when Parliament will be shaping a post-Brexit Britain, young people’s overwhelming demand to be part of the political process must be acted upon.
The joint letter comes following our initial call to politicians last week which demanded politicians talked to young people and not about them.
— ITV News (@itvnews) April 26, 2017