On Friday 4th November, Members of the Youth Parliament will debate topics related to health. 249 Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK will participate in the Commons debate, focussing on health-related issues as diverse as the cost of living crisis and the ongoing effects of climate change.
The sitting will be the eleventh session of UK Youth Parliament in the Commons Chamber and the topics for debate were selected through the annual Make Your Mark campaign. This year’s campaign incorporated the voices of almost half a million young people aged 11-18 nationwide. Make Your Mark remains the UK’s largest ever ballot of young people. The campaign was coordinated by the British Youth Council with the support of local authorities, UK Parliament, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Morning session 11:10am -12:40pm
• Impact of Discrimination on Health
We must get rid of sexism, xenophobia, racism and the discrimination that negatively affects people’s lives.
• Environment and Health
The government needs to adopt strategies that will help protect our physical and mental health from the onset of Climate Change.
Afternoon session 13.45pm – 16.00pm
• Education and Health
The government needs to develop a branch dedicated to noting the impact of insufficient personal, social and health education on young people in school.
• Cost of Living and Health
UK and local government should support young people affected by food poverty with access to a universal support package.
• Mental Health
The government needs to provide sufficient and increased funding for mental health services.
The morning session will be presided over by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle MP, with the afternoon sessions chaired by Deputy Speakers of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans MP and Rosie Winterton MP. At the close of debates, Members of Youth Parliament will vote to decide which of the topics will become the focus of their 2023 national campaign. The debates will be streamed live, with a 20 minute delay, on parliamentlive.tv and UK Parliament’s Twitter and YouTube.
Kashmea Wahi, Member of Youth Parliament for Harrow, London, said “Members of Youth Parliament will take over the Commons chamber to debate the top concerns of young people in the UK. From a nationwide ballot of almost half a million young people, the issue of health was voted as one of the most paramount concerns.
“Members of Youth Parliament further refined the issue into the five themed topics being debated on the day, which include mental health and the impact of the cost of living crisis on health. It’s imperative that young people’s views are amplified and taken seriously into account by decision-makers across the country on this issue.”
Youth representatives from the UK Overseas Territories have been invited to address the chamber with the most important issue affecting young people from their territories. Commenting on their involvement, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, said: “About time we heard from our friends in the extended part of our United Kingdom family – and the UK Youth Parliament event offers them the perfect platform.
“For too long I have felt the British Overseas Territories have been overlooked, yet so many of the decisions we make here in the UK have a huge impact on their futures.
“I am really looking forward to hearing from the young people who live in the overseas territories – about the issues that affect them and their experiences. I am sure we will learn so much from their contributions.”
Members of Youth Parliament are due to be joined by a government minister, Thangam Debbonaire MP, Shadow Leader of the House of the Commons and John Nicolson MP, SNP Spokesperson for the DCMS, who will all speak from the despatch box in recognition of the UK Youth Parliament being the only external group allowed to hold debates in the House of Commons Chamber.
Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “It’s brilliant to see the House of Commons sitting as part of the UK Youth Parliament, giving young people a forum to discuss issues important to them and have their voices heard.
“As someone who has been interested in politics from an early age, I think it is really important for young people to play an active part in our democracy – our decisions today impact their tomorrow.
“Supporting everyone to get the best start is a priority for this Government and through our National Youth Guarantee we are providing people with access to activities, adventures away from home and volunteering. This will ensure every young person has the opportunity to develop skills for life.”