What do we want?
- Enable 16 and 17 year olds to influence key decisions that affect their lives.
- Bring equality between 16 and 17 year-olds in across the UK.
- We want to challenge the stigma surrounding the mental health of young people.
Enable 16 and 17 year old to influence key decisions that affect their lives
16 and 17 year olds are denied the chance to influence decisions made by politicians about issues that massively affect their lives. Young people's concerns - on issues like tuition fees, living wage and youth service cuts - are often ignored.
There is a generation of 16 and 17 year-olds emerging from the education system that are well equipped to engage and participate in all elections across the UK. Every 16 year-old receiving school education will have completed citizenship classes. This is recent education about the political process and democracy. Young people want to vote - we believe its time to give them the vote.
Bring equality between 16 and 17 year-olds across the UK
We believe that allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote in selected parts of the UK and not others is unjustified. The Scottish Government took more positive steps towards a more inclusive and political system when they passed the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill, which allows all 16 and 17 year olds to vote in all Scottish elections from May 2016.
Young people's participation in the Scottish Referendum demonstrates that they are eager to engage. 75% of 16 and 17 year olds turned out to vote in once in a lifetime opportunity to have their say in shaping the future of their country. Other young people across the UK should have the same democratic right.
We want the Government to align the rights of 16 and 17 year olds with their responsibilities
Over 1.5 million 16 and 17 year olds are currently denied the right to vote. We believe it is impossible to justify the automatic and blanket exclusion of 16 and 17 year olds from the right to vote because, at 16, the law allows a person to:
- give full consent to medical treatment
- pay income tax and National Insurance
- obtain tax credits and welfare benefits in their own right
- consent to sexual relationships
- get married or enter a civil partnership, with parental consent
- change their name by deed poll
- become a director of a company
- Serve in the armed forces but not deployed on the front line
What can you do about it?
Get your friends involved in discussions about Votes at 16, by posting articles, videos and links. Bring the debate to them! Make sure follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and you can spread the word to your followers too!
You can make a big impact by getting in touch with your local press to tell them about why Votes at 16 is priority for young people. Why not write an open letter to your MP and ask your local newspaper to publish it?
The British Youth Council coordinate the Votes at 16 Coalition.