Democratic consultation of young people kicks off in Cornwall
Democratic consultation of young people kicks off in Cornwall on Friday 21 August at Padstow Library.
This is predicted to be the largest democratic consultation of young people, across the UK and it is set to start in Cornwall under the name of Make Your Mark.
Make Your Mark (MYM) is a national consultation of young people, based on motions passed by Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) at their annual sitting at the beginning of August. The results of MYM will decide what MYPs debate in the House of Commons in November and play a part in the formulation of Government policy on young people.
The launch day kicked off with a social media storm with the #MakeYourMark and the announcement of the ten issues which will appear on the ballot:
- Votes at 16. Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all public elections and referendums including the upcoming EU Referendum.
- Transport. Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all.
- The end of austerity and child poverty. Young people want to see investment in their lives and the lives of others in order to end poverty.
- Mental health. Services should be improved with young people’s help and mental health education should be compulsory and challenge stereotypes.
- Extended Special Educational Needs support. There should be more, not less, help for young people with special educational needs, including those with learning difficulties and dyslexia.
- Climate Change. Government should keep its promise to work globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to limit the increase in global temperature to 2 °C, and raise awareness locally.
- A Curriculum to prepare us for life. Schools should cover topics including finance, sex and relationships and politics in the curriculum.
- Living Wage. Everyone should be able to live comfortably. Everyone aged 16 or over should be paid at least the Living Wage of £7.85 per hour (£9.15 in London).
- Fund our youth services, don’t cut them. Youth services provide us with vital support, development opportunities and positive activities.
- Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish. All young people should work together to combat racism and other forms of discrimination, and ensure we know the dangers of such hatred.
The consultation runs from 12th August until 9th October. The target for participation is 1 million 11-18 year olds, last time 875,000 young people took part nationwide. MYPs in Cornwall have set the target of 12,000 votes.
The initiative is supported by the Cabinet Office and Cornwall Council’s Portfolio holder for Young People, Cllr Andrew Wallis who said “The voice of the 11-18 year old is important, yet with no statutory voting for those under 18, young people feel frustrated their views are not fully heard. This is why MYM is essential, as it gives a powerful voice to the issues and concerns that are important to young people. I am fully supportive of MYM, and look forward to hearing the views of the young people taking part”
Owen Winter, Member of the UK Youth Parliament for North and East Cornwall, said “I think that MYM is vital because 11-18 year olds cannot vote and are often overlooked by politicians. It is a great opportunity to take part in the democratic process and it gives young people a voice. It also ensures that the Youth Parliament is representative of the views of young people and has a mandate in future decisions.”