BYC Manifesto 2012-2014


General Overview

Youth Services

Our Community PlacardEngland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

At the heart of youth services is an underlying aim to support young people's personal and social development, to help give them a meaningful role in society and provide positive ways for young people to spend their time. Youth services provide informal learning opportunities for young people and can take many forms including Youth Centres, Youth Drop in Advice Centres, Sports Clubs, Peer Support and Sexual and Mental Health support and advice.  A positive youth work experience can, and will, set many young people on the path to success by addressing and tackling issues faced by young people at an early stage. Both Ofsted and a report by the National Youth Agency recognise that youth work has a distinctive and important role in contributing to successful outcomes for young people.


Fair Treatment at Work

2013 Priority CampaignEngland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

In 1998 the UK Government made the National Minimum Wage law in order to make sure that employees in all 4 Nations are provided with "decent minimum standards and fairness in the workplace". The National Minimum Wage is the minimum hourly rates of pay that employers can offer across the UK, so it is the lowest amount you can legally be paid.

At the moment there is a three-tiered system that means that workers get paid a different rate of the National Minimum Wage depending on your age.

The rates of the National Minimum Wage (from 1 October 2012 to the present) are:

  • £6.19 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older. This rate is called the adult rate.
  • £4.98 per hour for workers aged 18 to 21 years. This rate is called the youth development rate.
  • £3.68 per hour for all workers aged 16 to 18, who no longer have to be at school. This rate is called the youth rate.
  • £2.65 per hour for apprentices under 19 or those in their first year. If you're 19 or over and past your first year you get the rate that applies to your age.

The National Minimum Wage rates are set by the UK Government. However, there is an independent public body, the Low Pay Commission (LPC), which advises the Government every year on what the rates should be. The LPC use surveys, data, research projects and many other forms of evidence from a variety of sources to make recommendations on wage rates to Government. The LPC has to research how changing the rates will affect people's pay and their jobs. After looking at the LPC's yearly report the Government then makes an announcement about the rates of the National Minimum Wage.


Specific Issues

Youth Services



A recent joint Unite and Children and Young People Now survey has revealed that one in four council youth services in England face cuts of between 21 and 30 per cent, a massive three times more than councils are facing generally*1. The main reason for this is that councils are having their funding cut but are not being told how to manage this. This means that they are able to prioritise other services and make large, disproportionate, cuts to youth services. A recent statement made by Michael Gove to the Education Select Committee indicated that the government intends to further relinquish its responsibility for youth policy to local authorities. This is likely to lead to a huge variation in the quantity and quality of services offered across different authorities.


Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The evidence that we have for the cuts across youth services in these 3 Nations is much less complete than for England. There are, however, indications that young people are being failed across in these Nations as well. The YMCA says 23 per cent of community, learning and development staff in Scottish local authorities lost their jobs. Keith Towler, the Children's commissioner for Wales, said budget cuts and changes to the way that children and young people's services are funded risk pushing youth provision across Wales to the "bottom of the priority list". It is for this reason that we want your help in building a clear picture of what effect cuts to youth services are having on young people from across the UK. (See Campaign Activities)


Fair Treatment at Work


England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

Over the last 9 years the minimum wage for 16 - 17 year olds across all 4 Nations has risen by just £0.68 whilst during the same time period their over 21 counterparts have seen a rise in their wages of £2.51. Following a report from the Low Pay Commission (LPC) the government has raised the minimum wage for those aged 21 and over, but has frozen the pay for younger workers. This means that despite working for the same number of hours, and carrying out the same job, the gap between what a 16 year old can be paid and what a 21 year old can be paid continues to grow.

It is not just the unequal levels of pay that is an issue, however, as even the higher rate of minimum wage is well below that of the 'living wage'. The living wage is a figure that has been calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. At present this stands at £7.45 for those that live outside of London and £8.55 for those living inside London. Raising the minimum wage to the level of the Living Wage is not just beneficial for employees though. An independent study of the business benefits of implementing a Living Wage policy in London found that more than 80% of employers believe that the Living Wage had enhanced the quality of the work of their staff, while absenteeism had fallen by approximately 25%.



Campaign Focuses for the British Youth Council's Central Team

The British Youth Council will demonstrate with the National Union of Students to set an agenda of public investment in education and creation of employment for young people, come the 2015 General Election.

The British Youth Council will demonstrate with the TUC and Trade Unions to call for improved opportunities for young people to have a decent life including improved job opportunities and high quality public services.

The British Youth Council will continue to lobby for a reversal in the disproportionate cuts that youth services are currently facing. It will do this via its role in the Choose Youth coalition and will start by assisting in the development and launch of its new manifesto.

The British Youth Council will lobby government, alongside other organisations in the sector, to try and reverse the government's decision to relinquish its responsibility for youth policy to local authorities. We will argue that there needs to be a centrally coordinated policy framework that covers all aspects of youth services from health to community engagement.

The British Youth Council will become an accredited 'Living Wage Employer'

The British Youth Council will use the information gained from the below activities to form part of its evidence to lobby the Low Pay Commission to recommend that the minimum wage is raised to the living wage rate and is applicable to workers of all ages.



Campaign Actions for Our Members


What do we want?

To build a clear picture of the impact of cuts to youth services across the UK


How will we get it?

The British Youth Council wants young people from across all 4 Nations to tell us how youth services have been affected in your area over the last 12 months. Maybe you have had money spent on improvements, maybe new services have been introduced or maybe you have suffered cuts to services. (See campaign timetable)

Who can help?

English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Members



What do we want?

For people of all ages to be paid a wage that is both equal and sufficient to live on.


How will we get it?

Action 1:

We would like to assess and publicise the difficulties faced by young people from all 4 Nations trying to live on the current minimum wage. This will be done by young people producing case studies of 'A week on minimum wage' where they will document what a typical week is like when you are trying to subsist on a minimum wage salary. (See campaign timetable)

Action 2:

The British Youth Council wants young people from across all 4 Nations to lobby their local council asking them to become "Living Wage Employers". (See campaign timetable)

Who can help?

English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Members


BYC @ NUS Demo 2012


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