SUPPORTING VOTES AT 16 – back the bill


Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement and Education) Bill 2017-19

This Bill is to have its second reading debate today, Friday 3 November 2017.



Ta to the British Youth Council


Blogs on BYC page


The best way for young people to learn about politics is to get involved



“What we need is a country that wholeheartedly supports and listens to young people”



“There’s a clear appetite in young people to be involved in the democratic process”



Youth Vote undecided – Who wants it?

Ta to BYC

Ta to BYC

Youth Vote undecided – who wants it?

– The British Youth Council (BYC) has commissioned a new YouGov poll into young voter attitudes and initial results revealed as part of their manifesto launch, indicate that as many as 2 out of 3 are undecided about which candidate or party they would vote for in their constituency.

– BYC (which represents over 250 youth organisations) launches their new online manifesto video to  highlight its top five challenges to parties and candidates: on Votes at 16, Mental Health, Living Wage, Youth Services, and First Aid in schools.

– The same poll revealed a general voting intention by those aged 18-24 with Labour on 36%, Greens 20%, Conservatives 19%; UKIP 14%; Lib Dems 5%; and SNP/ PC 5%.

On Tuesday 3rd March 2015, British Youth Council (BYC) launched its General Election manifesto and video, and revealed some findings from its new YouGov UK wide poll, which shows 2 out of 3 young voters aged 18-24 have yet to decide who to vote for. The figure is released in advance of a report into youth engagement in the election to be published later this month.

Mita Desai, Chair, British Youth Council said: “In the lead up to this year’s General Election it’s important that we remind everyone that young people are interested in the issues and the it’s now up to politicians to face up to challenge of engaging us – Give us something to vote for! . We’ve launched our five campaigns today because we want more politicians to pay attention to the youth vote. Talk to us not about us. Use our vote – or lose it”

The manifesto – presented in a new online video – sets out BYCs top-five priority agenda for this year’s candidates and parties to consider as they seek the backing of undecided young voters to form a new Government. Our Vision Our Parliament features “votes for 16 and 17 year olds” which topped a poll of its membership, underlining  a persistent call by young people to be included in our democracy. The full list includes:

1. Reduce the voting age for parliamentary and other public elections, across the UK, to 16 years.
2. Recognise that our minds matter, and improve the access to and quality of our mental health services.
3. Ensure that everyone is paid the Living Wage.
4. Take the lead in restoring levels of funding for youth services that has been cut in recent years.
5. Ensure that quality First Aid is a compulsory subject for all children in schools.

British Youth Council to campaign for a Minister for Youth .. and Young Peers!?

Thanks to BYC

Thanks to BYC

The CYPN reports that  ‘members of the British Youth Council [BYC] want the next government to create a minister for young people with sole responsibility for issues affecting children and young people. The Scout Association put the campaign forward during BYC’s annual council meeting in Sheffield last week, which was attended by 35 member organisations.’ In addition ‘as part of the campaign, BYC will also call for the introduction of young peers, no older than 25 years old, to sit in the House of Lords and represent the views of young people.’

BYC calls for dedicated Minister

The initiative is welcomed by both the NCVYS and NYA, whilst the campaign Fair Play for Children is ambivalent, arguing,  ‘by all means have a Play and Youth Minister within Education but this ball-game belongs with the Secretary of State for Education. Undo Disaster Gove’s shrugging off of his duties and return Play and Youth (s507a and b) to Education – this is the campaign line of Fair Play for Children.’

Whilst I must confess the prospect of young peers in the profoundly anti-democratic Second House sends shudders through my abolitionist body the proposal for a dedicated Minister deserves a thorough debate. Whilst I collect my thoughts, what do you think?

Improving Services for Young People ; The Illusion of Shared Ambitions?


Ta to lonerwolf

Ta to lonerwolf

The Campaigns arm of the British Youth Council is seeking young people’s involvement in the following survey:

Have your say and help make sure services are focused on the needs of children and young people. (Plus your chance to WIN £30 VOUCHER)

The Local Government Association have teamed up with the British Youth Council to ask young people to help them develop a set of ambitions that all organisations who work with young people should have for them.

Here is your link to the survey:

The Local government Association work with local councils across the UK to support, promote and improve local government (

The Local Government Association is working to ensure our public services are ‘rewired’ to ensure they are able to deliver top quality services. They want to ensure all organisations (public, private or voluntary sector) who work with children and young people hold ‘shared ambitions’ for children and young people. These ‘shared ambitions’ should help make sure services are focused on children and young people’s needs.


As is often the case the idea proposed – the sharing of ambitions – seems simply good and beyond reproach. The reality is that the Local Government Association [LGA] is actively promoting a particular ambition for both children and young people; that they should grow into ’emotionally resilient’ individuals as prescribed in the Young Foundation’s Framework of Outcomes for Young People. At the very least this ought to be a contested rather than a shared ambition. Tony Taylor’s critique of the Outcomes agenda notes  that the Foundation’s and indeed the LGA’s ideological ambition is clear.


The die is cast immediately. The product of the framework is to be the ’emotionally resilient’ young individual, who through the planned interventions of youth workers, will shrug their shoulders at adversity. Utterly in tune with government policy this manufactured individual will have less need for public services such as health and social welfare and will be willing to work for whatever wages, zero-hour contracts or indeed benefits are on offer. This is the self-centred compliant young person of neo-liberalism’s dreams. The last thing such an obedient cipher would do is to ask, “how come this is happening to me, my mates, to thousands of others?” Nowhere in the Framework is there an acknowledgement that to talk of personal change demands an engagement with the social and political circumstances underpinning young people’s lives.


Meanwhile of course young people should be encouraged to respond, alongside, if it fits, chatting collectively about what the survey is getting at. It would be interesting to unpack what quite is meant by ‘rewired’ public services!