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.
As the national youth council of the UK, the British Youth Council has coordinated the Votes at 16 Coalition and campaigned on the issue for over 20 years. Our values are centered on being youth-led, empowering the voices of young people in society, and ensuring that no young person is disadvantaged in any way.
We are also the Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Votes at 16. Through the APPG, we work with MPs across the political spectrum on winning Votes at 16 through Parliament.
To continue our work we've been given a grant through the UK Democracy Fund, coordinated by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, to work with young people across 15 constituencies and build up campaigning capacity on Votes at 16. We're also proud to be working with The Body Shop to give young people a say on who runs the country and makes decisions about their future. As part of our major partnership, we'll be reminding decision-makers that the future is ours too.
- Read more + June 23, 2022 By Kaden Pradhan in APPG on Votes at 16, Blogs, UK Youth Parliament, Votes at 16
- Read more + April 26, 2022 By Elif True in Blogs, UK Young Ambassadors, Votes at 16
- Read more + April 19, 2022 By Rhammel Afflick in News, Press, Votes at 16
- Read more + May 7, 2020 By Joe Stockley in Blogs, Votes at 16
- Read more + November 27, 2019 By Rhammel Afflick in News, Votes at 16
- Read more + May 23, 2019 By Rhammel Afflick in News, Votes at 16
- Read more + April 17, 2019 By Rhammel Afflick in News, Press, Votes at 16
- Read more + November 9, 2018 By Rhammel Afflick in News, Press, Votes at 16
- Read more + May 10, 2018 By Rhammel Afflick in APPG on Votes at 16, News, Press, Votes at 16
- Read more + May 3, 2018 By Rhammel Afflick in APPG on Votes at 16, News, Press, Votes at 16
Send this form to your MP to find out if they support Votes at 16!
Send this form to your MP to find out if they support Votes at 16.
- Evidence shows that young people do want to engage in democracy, however there are certain things which deter or restrict them from doing so; for example barriers in registration, lack of engagement with minorities by political parties and socio-economic marginalisation.
- Turnout among 16-and 17-year-olds in Wales seems in line with that of other age groups, showing that young people do want to engage despite the barriers presented to them.
- As few as 5% of schools are visited by a politician (digitally or otherwise) in the course of each school year (Weinberg, 2021). As part of this campaign we are determined to not only lower the voting age and stop there but further champion democracy and political participation through political literacy. This stats shows just how little to no engagement young people have formally with their local leaders. This gap demands attention.
Academic research on this relatively under-developed topic in the UK suggests that positive political contact with politicians can overcome anti-political sentiments and stimulate future engagement among adults. Similarly, research with young people in schools points to a profound impact on youth expressive participation and political ambition (Weinberg et al, 2021)
- Inequality in provisions which could now be led and further heightened by political inequality. We have seen the government incorporate citizenship in the curriculum. However this is optional, depriving many schools of political and democratic knowledge.
It is possible that these levels of political literacy delivery are not equal across all types of secondary schools (OXFAM, 2019) Research using CELS data (Hoskins et al., 2017), as well as recent small-n studies of students in England (Weinberg et al, 2021), suggests that access to democratic education in school might be shaped by young people’s social background. The unequal voting rights will form unequal political provisions and create a bigger gaps in inequality in our democracy.
Lowering the voting age whilst involving stakeholders such as schools can be a successful way of enforcing this type of engagement in all schools, eliminating this inequality.