UKYP smashes records as over 875,000 11-18 year olds vote in Make Your Mark ballot 13th October 2014

Copyright UK Parliament/ Roger Harris)

Copyright UK Parliament/ Roger Harris)

 

The British Youth Council and UK Youth Parliament are delighted to announce a record turnout in the annual Make Your Mark ballot, which saw over 875,000 votes cast by 11-18 year olds across the country.

The figure marks an 81% increase on the 478,000 votes cast in the ballot in 2013, and cements Make Your Mark’s position as the largest youth consultation of its kind in the UK.

The Make Your Mark ballot gives young people a say on what is discussed by their Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) in their annual House of Commons debate, held this year on 14th November.

The five topics that received the most votes in the ballot are:

  • Votes at 16. Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in elections and referendums.
  • Everyone should be paid at least the Living Wage of £7.65 per hour (£8.80 in London). Anyone who works, regardless of age, should have a decent standard of living.
  • Mental health services should be improved with our help. We should all learn about common mental health issues at school and negative stereotypes should be challenged.
  • Work Experience. We should have the chance to do at least a week’s placement, at a place of our choosing. We should have access to professionals who inspire us.
  • Bring back exam resits in Maths and English in English schools, and help us achieve our potential.

The Youth Parliament will use its House of Commons debate to choose its priority campaigns for the year ahead from the five topics listed above.

The debate will be chaired by The Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, recorded in Hansard and broadcast live on BBC Democracy Live.

The Rt Hon John Bercow said:

“I am extremely proud to support the UK Youth Parliament and am very much looking forward to chairing the next sitting on Friday 14 November. The issues that young people around the country have chosen are highly relevant and will provide the basis for some extremely interesting debates. Each year I am impressed by the eloquence and conviction of the young people involved, and have no doubt that this year will again produce some very persuasive arguments.”

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

 “The Make Your Mark campaign has empowered over 865,000 young people to have their say on the issues that matter most to them. I am pleased to see that we are building on the success of last year – with an increase of 81% of 11-18 year olds voted in this consultation compared to last year. I am looking forward to being present when the Youth Parliament debates these topics in November.”

BYC Chair Mita Desai said:

“Young people are passionate leaders of innovative thinking and change. To anyone who would dare say young people are apathetic, I challenge them to think about how over 865,000 young individuals casted a vote on what they believe the British Youth Council and UK Youth Parliament should campaign on – an increase from last year`s turnout of over 478,000. The question is, why such a phenomenal increase? Young people have asked the British Youth Council to campaign on votes at 16 since 1998. In 2014 16 and 17 in Scotland were enfranchised for the independence referendum, and lowering the voting age to 16 is now a policy of Labour and the Liberal Democrat parties. The more politicians have demonstrated a willingness to listen to us, the more young people have faith that politicians are actually listening. Thank you everyone involved with making #MakeYourMark a success in increasing democracy and allowing over three quarters of a million voices to be heard. This amazing success shows how youth led empowerment works.”

 

DOWNLOAD THE 2014 MAKE YOUR MARK REPORT BELOW

Make Your Mark Results 2014