“Have Your Say” Nov 2020, 11-18 year-olds can vote to prioritise campaigns online.
This has been a challenging year for the Youth Parliament but the vote is open ! [topics listed below] Covid restrictions have delayed the usual timetable for the UK Youth Parliaments ‘Make Your Mark’ annual campaign vote by children and young people aged 11-18. The annual ballot is the largest youth consultation in the UK, usually takes place over the summer to choose five topics to be debated and voted on by young MYPs in a special sitting of the Youth Parliament in the House of Commons in November. This year the ballot, which topped 1m votes in 2018, is open during month of November with registered schools and youth groups supporting participation. You can only vote online.
The top ten topics were chosen by ballot of the Youth Parliaments young representatives from an 2020 updated UKYP manifesto. As in previous years, they are grouped into UK-wide and devolved nation topics, but in a new innovation there is an additional choice of local topics proposed by the Local Government Association (listed below).
The results are expected to be announced before the end of the year, with the date of the subsequent debate subject to Covid restrictions and Parliament’s confirmation.
The campaigns topics
Whilst many of the proposed campaign topics have appeared in previous years because they are still important or unresolved issues for young people, there are some new topics in the top ten. All have been brought into sharp focus by the impact of Covid itself, which might also have an impact on voter turnout. Young people’s mental health, the cost of a university education, and child poverty have appeared in previous years and are still likely to prove popular with young voters. The issues also reflect continued concern for social justice affecting all-ages in society, such discrimination and hate crime, pollution and climate change. Racism is again addressed this year with a specific call for it to be ‘truthfully taught’ in the curriculum, and an old favourite, votes at 16, returns, but unusually based on an old argument about parity with other age rights, to join the army and get married, rather that equality with Scotland and Wales, who now have lowered the voting age within the devolved nations. ‘Protect our Human rights’ makes it onto the ballot for the first time in Make Your Mark’s history. However, a call to include young people in Covid Recovering Planning, which includes reference to other issues – mental health, the green recovery, education, and employment – will have broad appeal and is Young Voices Heard predicted overall winner.
The ten topics chosen by members of the Youth Parliament. (Note – each topic has a video link to a young supporter)
Click Link to Vote
More money should be spent on young people’s mental health services, including offering mental health support in schools and training teachers about mental health. (Devolved Topic)
Invest in young people by providing free university. This will help more young people reach their full potential without suffering financial hardship. (Devolved topic)
End the system trapping 1 in 4 young people in poverty. All children should be able to thrive. (Devolved topic)
If no action is taken, it is predicted that waste plastics will outweigh fish in our oceans by 2050. Let’s reduce single-use and non-essential plastics. (Devolved topic)
To build a better future together, young people need to be taught the truth about the racism in past. The curriculum should tell the truth about racism. (Devolved topic)
Protect the planet and our future by transforming society and the economy to be green and sustainable to tackle the climate and ecological crisis. (UK wide topic)
Lower the voting age to 16. 16-year-olds can join the army and get married, so should be able to elect those who represent them. (UK wide topic)
Discrimination is rising in the UK. The government should [take steps] to tackle hate crime by ensuring it is punished appropriately. (UK wide topic)
Young people’s mental health, the green recovery, education, and employment should be central to COVID-19 recovery talks. Involve young people in the conversations which affect their future. (UK wide topic)
10/ Protect human rights (This link opens in a new window) Everybody’s human rights need to be protected. The UK is proud of its history of protecting human rights and this must continue. (UK wide topic)
Ten Topics selected by the Local Government Association
1/ Access to training and jobs
Due to COVID-19 jobs will change; some that exist now might not exist in the future. All young people need to have the right training opportunities to get jobs in the future.
2/ Young people’s voice should be heard in creating local services
Under 18s should be included in decisions affecting them, even if they can’t vote in a general election
3/ Leisure and culture
Art, sport and music are great for mental and physical health. Lots of services which give young people an opportunity to take part in leisure and culture are at risk of closing.
4/ End the health postcode lottery
In some parts of the country people live longer and are healthier than in others. Quality healthcare should be available everywhere and accessible to everyone to fix this
5/ Improve places to go and things to do for young people
Young people should be involved in deciding what youth activities and services should be available
6/ Access to technology and broadband for learning
More learning is happening online but not all young people have access to the right technology and broadband. If learning becomes a mixture of classroom and on-line then all young people need access technology and broadband
7/ Childhood obesity and food poverty
Healthy food should be cheaper and easily available
COVID-19 might make renting and owning a home less secure, so plans should be in place and money available to ensure nobody becomes homeless
9/ Domestic violence
Lockdown has meant that many people are trapped in homes that are dangerous for them. Protection and support are needed for those facing violence.
Travel will change post COVID-19. Investment in national transport schemes should be reviewed to see if this money should be spent more locally.