The next few weeks are going to be full of general election talk. We’ll hear many politicians make promises, targeting the segments of the electorate that they think will turn out to vote, which isn’t young people. Back in 2015, it was famously said that a politician with a spare hour to canvas should choose an old people’s home rather than a sixth form college. And we need to change this story.
As the national youth council for the UK, the British Youth Council will be championing the view of young people throughout this election campaign and demanding that Parliamentary Candidates talk to us, not about us. We have consulted extensively with young people about the key issues that are important to them in a general election and we are asking the political parties to tell us what they are going to do about these issues:
- A youth voice in Brexit – Young people will live with the consequences of Brexit for the longest and need to be a meaningful part of the process. We want a commitment to young people being at the heart of the negotiation process.
- 16: A new age for democracy – Over 1.5 million 16 and 17-year-olds are currently denied the right to vote. We want a commitment to give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in all elections and referenda across the UK.
- Our minds matter – The Youth Select Committee on Mental Health found that young people’s mental health services do not have equality of funding with adult services. We want a commitment to improving the access to and quality of our mental health services.
- A real living wage for everyone – In April 2016 the government introduced a higher minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age, although it doesn’t pay what people need to live. We want a commitment to equal pay for equal work, whatever your age and a wage that meets the cost of living.
- Save our youth services – Youth services have suffered as a result of financial cuts and restrictions. We want a commitment for existing youth services to have funding priority over new initiatives.
- Teach first aid in schools – First aiders can be the difference between life and death. We want a commitment to equip young people with the first aid skills to save lives, empowering them to become active citizens in their communities.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be seeking a commitment from the main political parties on these issues as well as sharing a series of blogs from young people on this issues that are important to them in this General Election.
How you can get involved: