Ahead of the 2017 General Election, the British Youth Council are working hard to ensure young people's voices are heard in the lead-up to the General Election, more young people are registered to vote and politicians are aware of the largest concerns for young people.

In the lead up to the 2015 General Election, we made it clear what young people wanted to see from politicians in the next five years. The British Youth Council developed, debated and voted to select the five issues described within its manifesto. This time we've also included a new demand based on our consultation with young people after the EU Referendum.

The topics we're bringing to the table show that there is still a lot to do before young people in the UK are treated fairly and equally in society. It can be tough being a young person in the UK when - you aren't paid equally; you don't always get the healthcare you need, and you have fewer places to go when your local youth club has been closed. Our new manifesto will highlight our vision and calls to action from the Government between 2017-2022.

“Politicians across the country must engage young people in a meaningful way ahead of the announced snap election. They have 7 weeks to convince young people that they can deliver on the issues that matter to them. Those who seek to represent us must talk to us and not about us."

Anna Barker

Chair, British Youth Council
"We really want young people to register to vote, research the issues, and then turn out on June 8th! The next Government will not only have control of domestic issues, they'll also have the task of negotiating how we leave the European Union."

Jake Pitt

Vice Chair - Campaigns and Communications, British Youth Council

OUR VISION

We want OUR Parliament to: Ensure young people are given the opportunity to actively participate and be meaningfully engaged in the Brexit negotiations.

We want OUR Parliament to: Reduce the voting age for parliamentary and other public elections, across the UK, to 16 years.

We want OUR Parliament to:  Recognise that our minds matter, and improve the access to and quality of our mental health services.

We want OUR Parliament to: Ensure that everyone is paid the Living Wage.

We want OUR Parliament to: Take the lead in restoring levels of funding for youth services that has been cut in recent years.

We want OUR Parliament to: Take the lead in restoring levels of funding for youth services that has been cut in recent years.

What do political parties have to say?

We wrote to UK political parties and asked them to respond to the issues of young people. Some parties did not respond in time so we have published information from their manifestos.

Young People and Brexit

The Conservatives say that they will deliver the best possible deal for Britain as we leave the European Union delivered by a smooth, orderly Brexit. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament. The final agreement will be subject to a vote in both houses of parliament. 

Sixteen: A New Age for Democracy:

We will continue to modernise and improve our electoral registration process, making it as accessible as possible so that every voice counts. We will retain the current franchise to vote in parliamentary elections at eighteen.

Our Minds Matter:

It was Conservatives in government that gave parity of esteem to the treatment of mental health in the National Health Service. We have backed this with a significant increase in 57 funding: since 2010 we have increased spending on mental health each year to a record £11.4 billion in 2016/17, with a further investment of £1 billion by 20/21, so that we can deliver the mental health services people deserve.

We will introduce the first new Mental Health Bill for thirty-five years, putting parity of esteem at the heart of treatment.

We understand the massively increased pressures on young people’s mental health. We will take focused action to provide the support needed by children and young people. Half of all mental health conditions become established in people before the age of fourteen. So we will ensure better access to care for children and young people.

A Conservative government will publish a green paper on young people’s mental health before the end of this year. We will introduce mental health first aid training for teachers in every primary and secondary school by the end of the parliament and ensure that every school has a 73 single point of contact with mental health services.

Every child will learn about mental wellbeing and the mental health risks of internet harms in the curriculum. And we will reform Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services so that children with serious conditions are seen within an appropriate timeframe and no child has to leave their local area and their family to receive normal treatment.

Living Wage for Everyone:

The Conservatives say they will deliver a new deal for ordinary, working people giving them a decent living wage and new rights and protections in the workplace. They go on to say that they must ensure that everyone is paid fairly for their work. It was a Conservative government that introduced the National Living Wage and as a result, people across the United Kingdom now receive a minimum of £7.50 an hour. A new Conservative government will continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings so that people who are on the lowest pay benefit from the same improvements in earnings as higher paid workers.

This information is based on the Conservative Party General Election Manifesto 2017.

Young People and Brexit

We will give all communities across Britain a voice in the Brexit negotiations. As our manifesto makes clear, we will seek a close relationship with the EU which includes continued access to schemes that benefit young people, like the Erasmus programme.

Sixteen: A New Age for Democracy:

Labour supported the right for 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in the EU referendum and we were disappointed when the Conservatives blocked this. A Labour Government will extend the franchise to ensure young people’s voices are heard in elections.

Our Minds Matter:

Labour will give mental health the same priority as physical health. We created the NHS and will ensure it is always properly funded. We will ring-fence mental health budgets and increase the proportion of money spent on early intervention for children and young people. And we will end the cuts in youth services.

Living Wage for Everyone:

It is a scandal that many of the people living in poverty across Britain are in work. Labour is committed to a Real Living Wage, which we believe will reach £10 per hour by 2020. This will be paid to all workers over 18, unlike the Conservatives’ so-called National Living Wage.

Save Our Youth Services:

Throughout the election campaign I have spoken of my desire to build a fairer Britain for our young people so we can ensure they are able to fulfil their potential and access properly funded public services. We must not pit young against old, as the fifth richest country in the world we can afford fairness for all.

This information is based on the Labour Party response to British Youth Council's General Election Manifesto ‘Our Parliament, Our Vision 2017’.

Young People and Brexit:

Young people voted overwhelmingly to Remain. Liberal Democrats will stand up for their pro-EU aspirations and give them the chance to change the future direction of our country. We will engage young people in all Brexit negotiations and campaign against a hard Brexit. If young people feel their views have not been represented by all parties in the Brexit negotiations, they should have the option to vote against the deal. Liberal Democrats will give you a final say on our future deal with the EU in a public vote.

Sixteen: A New Age for Democracy:

At the age of 16 people are, in many regards, treated as full citizens – they can pay tax, join the army and get married. Therefore, they have every right to vote. Without votes at 16, people can get into their early 20s without having had a say on running the country, and that can’t be right. Liberal Democrats would issue clear guidance that schools and colleges are expected to actively encourage registration of everybody eligible to vote in their establishments. 

Our Minds Matter:

Liberal Democrats will continue to roll out mental health access and waiting time standards for young people. This will include a guarantee that people will wait no more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety and no young person will wait more than two weeks for treatment when they experience a first episode of psychosis. We will end out-of-area placements to ensure young people admitted to hospital for mental ill-health are able to be treated close to home. We will ensure pupils have immediate access to counselling and we will stamp out mental health stigma by including mental education on the school curriculum.

Living Wage for Everyone:

Liberal Democrats believe all employees should be entitled to a living wage and it is outrageous that Conservatives leave young workers vulnerable to exploitation by only apply these standards to over-25s. Liberal Democrats will adopt a ‘good employer’ kitemark covering areas such as paying a living wage and avoiding unpaid internships. We will pay a living wage in all central government departments and their agencies, and encourage other public-sector employers to do likewise. Meanwhile, we will establish an independent review to consult on how to set a genuine living wage across all sectors.

Save our Youth Services:

Under the Conservative government, youth services have faced drastic cuts of up to 80% in funding. This is entirely unacceptable.  Youth work has an important role in tackling inequalities, raising aspiration and supporting young people’s social and emotional development. The Liberal Democrats believe youth services should be put on a statutory footing, making them less vulnerable to local authority funding cuts.

Teach First Aid in Schools:

Liberal Democrats will introduce a “Curriculum for Life” to be taught at all state schools. The curriculum will include financial literacy, mental health education, citizenship, age-appropriate Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) and most importantly: first aid and emergency lifesaving skills.

This information is based on the Liberal Democrats response to the British Youth Council's General Election Manifesto ‘Our Parliament, Our Vision 2017’.

Young People and Brexit:

The SNP is fully committed to giving young people a strong voice in the Brexit process. We want young people to participate and be engaged in the negotiations. We will not stand-by and watch opportunities for young people to live, work, love and travel across Europe ripped away. It’s essential that young voices are heard in the negotiations on matters of critical importance such as the fate of the Erasmus scheme and recognition of higher education certification across the EU.

Sixteen: A New Age for Democracy:

The SNP is a long-standing supporter of votes at 16. Where we can, we have already delivered on this pledge, extending the franchise for the Scottish referendum, local government and Scottish Parliament elections to include 16 and 17 year olds. Our manifesto for the 2017 general election pledges to support lowering the voting age for UK parliament elections to 16.

Our Minds Matter:

In government, the SNP has delivered better mental health services for young people and appointed the UK’s first dedicated Mental Health Minister. The number of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) psychology posts has more than doubled since 2007. And spending on mental health services in Scotland will exceed £1 billion for the first time in 2017-18.

Living Wage for Everyone:

We believe people should receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. We support payment for the real Living Wage, which ensures people’s basic wage continue to meets the real cost of living. We back a transition towards payment of the real Living wage as a new minimum legal requirement to all adults above the age of 18, creating a new single adult rate. We believe that the rate paid to 16-18 year olds and apprentices should increase in line with changes to the rate of the real Living wage. We will call for the UK government to ask the Low Pay Commission to deliver this national pay rise, and to put in place appropriate support for employers.

Teach First Aid in Schools:

In Scotland, under Curriculum for Excellence, schools already have the flexibility to provide first aid training. It is up to individual schools and local authorities to decide if, and how best, to deliver this. In 2016, more than 60,000 people across Scotland were given CPR training. The SNP will continue to support more young people to learn essential first aid skills.

This information is based on the SNP’s response to the British Youth Council's General Election Manifesto ‘Our Parliament, Our Vision 2017’.

Young People and Brexit:

Plaid Cymru will not support any Brexit agreement which will be damaging to Wales. The implications and possible consequences of Brexit could affect young people more than any other age group, particularly in terms of Brexit’s impact on jobs, the economy and higher education, and we agree that young people should be engaged and consulted throughout the process.

Sixteen: A New Age for Democracy:

Plaid Cymru believes that 16 and 17 year olds should have the right to participate in Assembly elections and other elections affecting Wales – we believe that young people’s voices and contribution to the democratic process is vital.

Our Minds Matter:

Plaid Cymru secured an additional £20 million in the 2017-18 Welsh Government budget for mental health services, which will mean that more talking therapies and other services will be made available, particularly for young people. We have also challenged the Welsh Government to improve waiting times in children and adolescent mental health services. Our 2017 manifesto includes a commitment to continue to call for increased resources for mental health services.

Living Wage for Everyone:

The Living Wage pledge is included in our 2017 manifesto – we believe that people should receive fair pay for their work. Plaid Cymru is also a recognised Living Wage employer.

Save Our Youth Services:

We recognise the contribution that youth clubs and youth services make in our communities, and we believe that cuts to youth services have had a detrimental effect. This was why I opposed the deep cuts to a variety of services - including to youth services - by my local council Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough. My objections were contained in a consultation response submitted back in 2016. I also raised the detrimental effect of cuts to youth work during the televised leaders’ debate on BBC1 this week.

Teach First Aid in Schools:

Plaid Cymru has supported calls in the National Assembly to include life-saving skills on the national curriculum.

This information is based on Plaid Cymru's response to the British Youth Council’s General Election Manifesto ‘Our Parliament, Our Vision 2017’.

Young people and Brexit:

Young people voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. Those aged 16 and 17 didn't get a vote at all.  Our ‘Green Guarantee’ for the general election includes a pledge to hold a ratification referendum on the final Brexit deal, including the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU. lf re-elected we will continue to argue for a meaningful and inclusive Brexit process, for the rights of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, for the rights of young people to work, study and travel in the EU, for workers' rights and environmental protections to be maintained and strengthened, and for a referendum on the final deal. 

Sixteen: A New Age for Democracy:

It has long been Green Party policy to lower the voting age to 16. I and Green colleagues have repeatedly called for this, including at our general election campaign launch in Bristol. Last year, I proposed an electoral reform bill to Parliament calling for votes at 16 and proportional representation. Unfortunately, the bill did not proceed to a full debate after it was voted down. I will continue to campaign vigorously on this issue until our broken voting system is changed.

Our Minds Matter:

Our ‘Green Guarantee’ includes a pledge to "Bring mental health care in line with physical health care and ensure people experiencing mental health crises are supported close to their home and support networks. Introduce mental health awareness training within the public sector and encourage a more open dialogue on the issue in wider society. We would increase funding for mental health as well as physical health and ensure that no one waits more than 28 days for access to talking therapies. Mental health problems are made worse by the current isolation that many people face in society. We will tackle this by protecting facilities such as community Centre’s which will be used to provide specific resources for those faced with mental health difficulties and call for a 4-day working week to encourage a better work-life balance. 

Living Wage for Everyone:

The Green Party would increase the minimum wage to a real living wage of £10 per hour by 2020, for all workers regardless of age. 

Save our Youth Services:

A Green government would increase investment in young people's services, providing a comprehensive and inclusive youth service, including youth clubs, youth councils and noncurricular education and training (costing an extra £1.1 billion a year).

Teach First Aid in Schools:

I have been an active campaigner for the school curriculum to include compulsory Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE), and first brought a bill to Parliament on this subject in 2014. The campaign has focused particularly on sex and relationships education (SRE), and achieved a great victory in March when this was made compulsory. lt is Green Party policy for first aid to also be taught in all schools, along with other life skills such as basic cooking and managing personal finances.

This information is based on the Green Party’s response to the British Youth Council’s General Election Manifesto ‘Our Parliament, Our Vision 2017’.

Young People and Brexit:

More than 17 million of us voted ‘Leave,’ giving the government the largest democratic mandate in the history of British politics. There should be no question of turning back, yet the Tories are leaving the door to the EU wide open. UKIP is the only party that will genuinely respect the referendum result. UKIP sets out in our manifesto six ‘Brexit Tests’ which need to be passed before we can say we are finally free of the EU.

Our Minds Matter:

UKIP will increase planned spending on mental health services by at least £500 million every year. This sum could fund 6,000 clinical psychologists to see 500,000 more adults and young people every year.

Mental health problems start before age fourteen in half of all cases, so UKIP will integrate mental health training into the teacher-training syllabus and develop a national school-based counselling strategy for England, on a par with Wales and Northern Ireland. Specialist counselling services will be available in all secondary schools.

Education should focus on personal wellbeing, practical coping skills, and developing positive social relationships, as well as academic performance. In stressing the latter, we have piled stress on our children. Our education system needs to be more balanced, so UKIP will introduce emotional health and wellbeing into the Ofsted inspection framework.

 

Living Wage for Everyone:

Enforce the minimum and living wage and reverse government cuts to the number of minimum wage inspectors in England and Wales.

 

Teach First Aid in Schools:

Make First Aid training a statutory requirement so pupils obtain a ‘Basic Life-Saving Diploma.’ Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation will be included.

This information is based on the UKIP General Election Manifesto 2017.

Young People and Brexit:

More than 17 million of us voted ‘Leave,’ giving the government the largest democratic mandate in the history of British politics. There should be no question of turning back, yet the Tories are leaving the door to the EU wide open. UKIP is the only party that will genuinely respect the referendum result. UKIP sets out in our manifesto six ‘Brexit Tests’ which need to be passed before we can say we are finally free of the EU.

Our Minds Matter:

UKIP will increase planned spending on mental health services by at least £500 million every year. This sum could fund 6,000 clinical psychologists to see 500,000 more adults and young people every year.

Mental health problems start before age fourteen in half of all cases, so UKIP will integrate mental health training into the teacher-training syllabus and develop a national school-based counselling strategy for England, on a par with Wales and Northern Ireland. Specialist counselling services will be available in all secondary schools.

Education should focus on personal wellbeing, practical coping skills, and developing positive social relationships, as well as academic performance. In stressing the latter, we have piled stress on our children. Our education system needs to be more balanced, so UKIP will introduce emotional health and wellbeing into the Ofsted inspection framework.

 

Living Wage for Everyone:

Enforce the minimum and living wage and reverse government cuts to the number of minimum wage inspectors in England and Wales.

 

Teach First Aid in Schools:

Make First Aid training a statutory requirement so pupils obtain a ‘Basic Life-Saving Diploma.’ Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation will be included.

This information is based on the UKIP General Election Manifesto 2017.

Young People and Brexit:

We endorsed and helped campaign for a successful Leave vote across the United Kingdom. The DUP is proud to have stood against the Remain campaign of ‘Project Fear’, both nationally and locally. The DUP believes that this decision must be upheld and our MPs fought against those who sought to overturn the people’s decision, block Article 50 and tie the government’s negotiation stance.

 

While the United Kingdom has decided that it no longer wants to be part of the EU political project, we still desire a positive relationship, mutual access to our markets to pursue common interests. The type of relationship we desire is expressed by the EU in Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty.

 

“The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.” This is especially true of our relationship with our neighbour, the Republic of Ireland, and to achieve common aims such as a seamless, frictionless border and maintenance of the common travel area.

 

Our Minds Matter:

We will continue to increase spending on mental health each and every year of the next Assembly term. We will appoint mental health champions across the public sector and establish a world leading mental trauma service.

This information is based on the DUP’s Manifestos for the 2016 and 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly Elections.

Young People and Brexit:

The people of the North voted to remain in the European Union. The Tory Government are seeking to impose Brexit on Ireland. Sinn Féin believe that the only credible approach is for a designated special status for the north within the EU that will uphold the democratic vote of citizens, but will also ensure that the frontier between the EU and Britain will not be on the island of Ireland. The north must continue to have free movement of our people, goods, and services on a north/south basis, and between the other member states of the EU enabling us to benefit from the biggest trading bloc in the world.

Sixteen: A New Age for Democracy:

We will reduce the voting age and extend voting rights to citizens in the North and to the Diaspora.

Living Wage for Everyone:

We will increase the National Minimum Wage to €9.65 an hour and continue to track the hourly rate against median earnings and the cost of living. We support the introduction of a ‘Living Wage’, and as a first step towards its introduction, we will make the public sector a Living Wage employer.

Our policies on health, education, employment, infrastructure, children and young people, older people and those denied their basic human rights were all designed to ensure that we improved the quality of people’s lives.

Our Minds Matter:

We will increase the mental health budget. We will complete the rollout of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses (SCAN). We will increase the number of inpatient child and adolescent beds to end the inappropriate admission of children to adult psychiatric units. We will increase provision for people with mental health difficulties and increase funding for counselling in primary care, which currently has long waiting lists.

We will put in place school guidelines on anti-bullying and addressing diversity as well as guidelines on mental health and suicide awareness policies on a statutory footing so that they are implemented across all schools to the same high standard.

This information is based on the Sinn Féin General Election Manifestos for 2016 and 2017.

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