The British Youth Council has written to Stuart Andrew MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Civil Society, who now has responsibility for policy relating to children and young people at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The new appointment follows the appointment of Rishi Sunak MP as Prime Minister.
The charity used the new appointment to highlight the priorities of young people with a particular focus on the cost of living, mental health, the climate emergency and a fairer democracy.
Commenting on the appointment of the new minister, Zara Khan, Chair of the British Youth Council said: “We welcome the appointment of a new minister with responsibility for civil society and young people. We’re looking forward to working with the minister to champion the priorities of young people. We know there’s a long list of issues young people want action on and they must remain at the forefront of decision-making.
“Young people need to see action on the cost of living crisis, mental health, the climate emergency and they want to see a fairer more equal democracy. We’ll be highlighting these crucial issues to the new minister, and seeking clarification on the government’s plans to take action.”
The National Youth Council, which represents millions of young people, will write to welcome the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Civil Society reminding the department of young people’s priorities and reiterating its long-standing call for a dedicated youth minister. The British Youth Council has long-held concerns about the size of the brief which will include other responsibilities. The new minister will also act as Minister for Equalities meaning the remit is larger than his predecessor. Successive Governments have ignored cross-party support for the reintroduction of the role which has been vacant since 2010.
Osaro Otobo, Deputy Chair of the British Youth Council said: “We’re concerned that the Ministerial brief continues to be too large especially now the Minister will also have responsibilities for equalities – another area of significant importance.
“We feel appointing a minister with sole responsibility for children and young people would form an integral part of making sure young people’s voices are heard right across government.”
“When young people are given a fulsome and meaningful opportunity to engage in shaping their future they will grab the opportunity with both hands. With this in mind, we will continue in our efforts to bring young people to the heart of government decision-making.”
The national charity, which has a long history of supporting young people to define their own actions for change, has been campaigning and amplifying the voices of young people on a number of issues. Child poverty, the climate emergency, mental health and its recently renewed efforts to address democratic unfairness through its campaign for votes at 16 are just some of the issues facing young people. These campaigns form part of the British Youth Council’s vision for a world where young people’s views are not only sought but acted upon.