UKYP today launched ‘Make Your Mark’, a UK-wide ballot which gives young people aged 11-18 the chance to decide what Members of Youth Parliament should debate and vote on – during their sitting in the House of Commons this November – to be their campaign for the year ahead.
On 23rd November 2012 Members of Youth Parliament will debate the top five issues chosen by young people in the ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot, at their sitting in the House of Commons to be chaired by Rt. Hon John Bercow MP. At the Commons sitting one topic will be chosen to be UKYP’s national campaign for 2013. Last year the debate was attended by the Leader of the House of Commons Sir George Young, Shadow Leader Angela Eagle MP, and Children’s Minister Tim Loughton MP.
Voters are required to choose what they consider the most important issue for young people in the UK from 15 options on the ‘Make Your Mark ballot paper, including calls for measures to address youth unemployment, same sex marriage to be legalised, and votes for 16 year olds.
The ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot is open for voting until 12th October 2012. Five hundred thousand ballot papers have been delivered to local authorities, schools, and youth clubs across the UK, and young people can also cast their vote online at: www.mi-vote.com/mym
‘Make Your Mark’ ballot issues:
1. A curriculum to prepare us for life
The national curriculum should be radically overhauled through a youth-led review that helps develop young people’s political knowledge, better sex and relationships education, cultural awareness, community cohesion, finance skills and sustainable living.
2. Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections and referendums
16 and 17 year olds are by law able to make complex decisions and take on wide ranging responsibilities, it’s now time to give them vote.
3. Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all
We need to improve pricing structure, cleanliness, frequency, reliability, and treatment of young people on public transport, including those in rural areas.
4. Our World, Our views
Our Members of the UK Youth Parliament should be consulted more by the Members of Parliament and the UK government on the global issues that are important to young people.
5. Getting ready for work
The rate of youth unemployment is too high and young people need better education, skills development, apprenticeships and mentoring schemes to help equip them with the right tools to enter the employment market. Every school pupil should have the opportunity to participate in work experience, in an external working environment, for a minimum of one week in a field of their choice, as well as access to opportunities linking them to professionals to help inspire them to learn about different career choices.
6. Marriage for all
We believe that all people in the UK should have equal rights to marriage. We believe that same-sex marriage should be legal in the UK and should give equal rights and benefits attributed to marriage’s current legal status in society.
7. Save our Youth Services
Fund our youth services, don’t cut them in haste. Youth services provide vital support to young people’s development, give them a meaningful role in society and provide positive and active ways for young people to spend their time. Young people do not deserve to face these cuts due to the repercussions of mistakes that we did not make.
8. Our minds matter
Mental health services should be improved and better promoted. Young people should be consulted on how this should be done. Mental health education should be compulsory in our curriculum to provide information on common clinical conditions including depression and to challenge stereotypes.
9. Better 16-19 Bursaries
An improved student bursary system should be introduced to ensure that funds are directed towards those who need them most in order to cover vital costs needed to be able to stay in education.
10. Youth-led Youth Budgets
Young people should be involved in youth budgets to ensure money is spent on the things young people want and need.
11. Working with the Police
Improve the relationship between police and young people by encouraging more interaction between the police and the youth community. All young people need access to free, clear and comprehensive legal aid and support.
12. Giving our issues a platform
There should be increased opportunities to discuss campaigns, important issues and to raise awareness of UKYP and other youth projects, locally, regionally and internationally. This could include a UKYP radio programme and a diversity of social media streams, press activity and events.
13. An equal National Minimum Wage for all
We believe that paying young people a lower National Minimum Wage than their adult counterparts because they are younger is age discrimination, and this is unacceptable.
14. Involve young people in the political system
Young people need to be engaged through a series of measures, such as youth elections, and a legal obligation on MPs and local authorities to involve young people in decision-making.
15. Our rights matter
Young people should be educated on their legal rights locally, nationally and internationally and on how to access them.