Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Young people’s voices should be heard in the EU Referendum – @weezeontoast

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Young people’s voices should be heard in the EU Referendum

Ahead of the introduction of the EU Referendum Bill to the UK Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, has urged the UK Government to extend the franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds. Louise said:

“The decision about whether the United Kingdom remains a part of the European Union or votes to leave, is a hugely important decision that 16- and 17-year-olds must be a part of.

“This is a decision that will affect our future. As a nation, we need a fair and accessible debate about the future of our EU membership, and we cannot possibly achieve that by excluding the voices of our country’s 16- and 17-year-olds.

“No longer can we continue to deny young people a voice and exclude them from shaping debates on so many issues that affect their lives. Young people are the future our country, and they are also here working hard, paying tax, starting families, and living their lives now – they deserve to have their say about their future, and not have it decided for them.

“The young people of Scotland proved, through their engagement in the referendum process, that they take their right to vote very seriously, and they have collectively crushed all of the myths and arguments against a lowered voting age.

“We know young people are engaged and enthusiastic about participating in democracy. We should be proud of this. We should be encouraging young people to have their say and shape their own futures. We should be focusing on engaging young people in politics and harnessing their enthusiasm, not sending messages that suggest their voices do not matter.

“As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, the Scottish Youth Parliament has always known that 16-and 17-year-olds are capable of making informed decisions when it comes to voting, and we have been campaigning for Votes at 16 since the start of our organisation in 1999. We are delighted that the voting age will be lowered to 16 in time for the next Scottish Parliament elections, and we believe this will have a very positive impact on the overall levels of engagement. While fantastic progress has been made, we will continue to campaign for Votes at 16 in all elections.”

The Scottish Youth Parliament appoints new Chief Executive

Monday, May 11th, 2015

SYP_LogoSmall

The Scottish Youth Parliament appoints new Chief Executive

The Scottish Youth Parliament has appointed Ben McKendrick as its Chief Executive. Ben joins SYP from Myeloma UK, and will take up post at our Edinburgh Office in July.

Speaking about the appointment, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Ben McKendrick as the new Chief Executive of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

“The process to appoint a successor to Hamira Khan attracted some high quality candidates, and in Ben McKendrick we have a Chief Executive who brings a wealth of experience, insight and enthusiasm.

“I have no doubt that Ben will take the organisation forward with commitment and passion, building on Hamira’s great work over the past five years. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Hamira for her fantastic work during her time at SYP, and her dedication to empowering Scotland’s young people.

“I am very much looking forward to welcoming Ben to SYP, and I am confident we can expect great and exciting things from the organisation under Ben’s guidance and leadership.”

Our votes will decide the next UK Government – @weezeontoast

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Young people could decide the next UK Government. It’s that simple. We have a huge opportunity to ensure that the issues that are important to us take centre stage with only one day left before the General Election.

The referendum in Scotland sparked a renewed interest in politics and democratic processes among young people. More than ever before, politicians had to go the extra mile to engage young people about the issues that matter most to them. The General Election should be no different.

At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we champion the importance of civic and political participation. We passionately believe that young people should be participants in democratic processes, and that elected representatives have a duty to listen to our views given that many of their decisions will directly affect our lives. We go out into communities and talk to young people about why it’s important to vote, and why our votes matter. Traditionally, we have always said that it doesn’t matter what the election is, it is important to vote no matter what. However, I cannot help but see the unique opportunity presented to us in this election.

A recent poll conducted by YouGov suggests that 68% of young voters between the ages of 18-24 will definitely vote. In addition, a further poll conducted by YouGov earlier in March commissioned by the British Youth Council showed that as many as two out of three young people were undecided about where their vote will go. This provides us with an opportunity to define the election campaign. As a group of voters, our views and choices matter in this election.

With the polls showing that the outcome of the election is too close to call, and with the likelihood of a hung parliament increasing by the day, there is a massive opportunity for young people in Scotland, and across the rest of the UK, to push the parties on the issues that matter most to us.

By the end of the next parliament, many of us will be seeking our first job, buying our first house, starting a family etc. It’s important that we recognise the impact our votes can have on many of these issues over the next five years. We should push the candidates in our areas to outline their plans for improving employment opportunities, for creating more apprenticeships, for eradicating child and youth poverty, for providing more affordable housing, for increasing wages, for advancing and protecting human rights. These are the issues that matter to me. But what matters to you?

Whatever matters to you, you as a young voter have the opportunity to get the answers you need to decide who you should vote for in this election. Make no mistake about it, the candidates need your vote. Your vote and your voice matters.

With one day still left, I would really urge the young people in Scotland and across the rest of the UK to grasp this election by the scruff of its neck, and ensure it delivers better outcomes for you, and the other young people in your area.

Most importantly of all, no matter your views, or what issues are important to you, make sure you vote on 7th May.

70,000 votes cast in Scottish Youth Parliament National Elections

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

SYP_LogoSmall

Nearly 70,000 young people from all over Scotland have voted to elect their local Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) in the 2015 Scottish Youth Parliament national elections.

Following almost three months of campaigning from young candidates across Scotland, young people aged 12-25 were asked to cast their vote to elect their local MSYP. Young people were able to cast their vote by submitting a paper ballot or using the secure e-Voting platform facilitated by Young Scot, depending on the method chosen by their local authority.

The elections were open for two weeks and held between Monday 2nd and Friday 13th March 2015. The results were announced at a series of events held by individual local authorities between Friday 13th March and Wednesday 25th March 2015, where many of the local authority Chief Executives acted as Returning Officers.

A full list of the newly elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament can be found www.syp.org.uk/elections. The newly elected MSYPs will take up office at the Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Sitting in June 2015.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. It provides a national platform for young people to discuss issues important to them and affect the change they wish to see.

Speaking after the 2015 SYP election results, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I’m delighted to announce that a record turnout of 70,000 young people made their voices heard by casting their vote in the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 2015 national elections.

“Over the past few months, we’ve witnessed fantastic campaigning taking place all over the country, with passionate debates and hustings inspiring Scotland’s young people to get involved in the democratic process by voting in the Scottish Youth Parliament elections. It has been a truly extraordinary journey, and the success of the elections is a real testament to the commitment and enthusiasm of young people to further their involvement in political decision making and ensure their voices are at the forefront of shaping society. I’d like to congratulate all of the candidates, and wish the best of luck to the newly elected MSYPs.

“Through our work at the Scottish Youth Parliament, we know that young people engage with and are interested in issue-based politics. Young people want to have their say about the issues that affect their lives, but often the focus on negative party politics is off-putting for young people and leads to disengagement.

“For me, engaging young voters is a priority that transcends party politics, and I hope the success of the Scottish Youth Parliament elections will help to encourage politicians to put the party politics to one side and harness young people’s enthusiasm for politics by focusing on the issues and discussions that matter to them.”

Opening Statement – Scottish Youth Parliament’s 56th National Sitting – @3terrismith

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Vice Chair Opening Statement (Saturday 21st March) – Terri Smith MSYP

Scottish Youth Parliament 56th National Sitting

TerriSmith

Good Morning MSYPs, Support Workers and Guests, I am delighted to welcome you to the second day of the Scottish Youth Parliaments 56th National Sitting in the heart of my home city, Edinburgh. I hope you all enjoyed last night’s Annual Awards Ceremony and entertainment. I think you will agree that it was wonderful celebration of everything we have achieved, not just this year, but over our whole terms and I would like to congratulate all winners – it was very well deserved!

 

Today will be the last time I address this membership as Vice Chair, and for many people in this room today will be the last day of your last SYP Sitting.

While there will be a sense of sadness throughout the day, and I myself don’t particularly like goodbyes, I hope each and every one of you leave Edinburgh feeling proud from what you have accomplished and determined to enter the next chapter in your life and to affect the change and make the same impact as you did as an MSYP.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is a unique organisation, we showcase the talents and beliefs of the young people of Scotland and together we believe we can make a change.  It is because we share this belief and unity of purpose that every MSYP in this room has individually and collectively made a difference for the young people of Scotland.

 

When I joined SYP in 2009, I was just the ‘daft wee lassie from Leith’. I spoke without thinking, I joked more than I talked, and I couldn’t even tell you who the Prime Minister was let alone ask him a question live on television.

At 14 years-old, I was told I would amount to nothing, I wouldn’t leave Leith, I wouldn’t get a job and my life would be pointless. This devastated me at the time, but it soon became my motivation. Who was anybody to tell me I couldn’t or wouldn’t do something, so being the gobby wee lassie I was I thought I would join SYP.

Six years later, I now stand here now in front of all of you, proud of the work I have done, proud of the people I have helped and proud of the difference I have made along with all of you. Everyone in here has an SYP story, we are proud to tell people about our organisation and the journey we have all been on. The Scottish Youth Parliament is my life, it’s most certainly become a huge part in all your lives too.

But not only is it a huge part of my life, it has changed my life for the better, and I sincerely hope it has done so for you as well.

 

You’ve represented constituents, registered people to vote in the independence referendum, campaigned for a living wage, campaigned for young carers, made Votes at 16 a reality for the referendum and through the Smith Commission. The list goes on.

Whether you have helped 1 or 100 people the point is you’ve made a difference to someone’s life and that is the best gift any one can give or receive.

While MSYPs are undoubtedly the driving force behind SYP’s success there are two other groups of people I would like to thank in particular. The first is all our support workers – without them the work we do on a daily basis would not be possible, and SYP would not exist. They are so important to the health and vitality of our organisation, and I want to thank every single one of them for their role over the last two years.

 

There is one support worker I would like to pay a special thank you to and that is my support worker Mary Mitchell. Over the years, Mary has been the Edinburgh MSYPs taxi driver, she takes up and down the country while enduring the screams that comes from the back of the mini bus. She always ensures MSYPs are okay and carrying out their duties to the best of their abilities. She’s not just a support worker she’s our hippy Mary, who is always there to help and is always keen for us all to do well.

I know that there is a Mary Mitchell in every local authority. Our support workers care about us, they care about SYP. They share our vision and are fundamentally the back bone to the people we are in our local areas. So please everyone could have a round of applause in appreciation for all our support workers.

 

The second group of people I would like to thank is our amazing Scottish Youth Parliament staff team. All nine members of staff are the second support structure that allows us to achieve great things.

We have the Projects Team which consists of Claire and Rosy – two exceptional staff members. Rosy ensures all our events like our Sitting this weekend are a success and are safe, and a truly wonderful experience for everyone who attends. Without Claire overseeing our projects, we would not be able to deliver successful youth led projects in the way we do, and most recently, our elections wouldn’t have been as successful if it were not for her hard work and dedication.

We also have our one of a kind Youth Engagement Team – they are our enthusiastic staff members who travel the country to engage with as many young people as they can. Calum and Rhiannon are hugely inspiration youth workers, who champion the work we do all across the country. This dedicated team is led by non-other than Jamie Dunlop. When writing this speech I took 20 minutes on what to write about Jamie, but not because I had nothing to say but because I had far too much to say.

Jamie’s remit at SYP is more than just being the Youth Engagement Co-ordinator. He’s the guy who instils belief in us all. Over the past few years, he’s made me laugh, cry and even saved my life on many occasions – without him I wouldn’t be half the MSYP I am today.

Now on to our dedicated Public Affairs team, 3 of the most outstanding staff members who to me are our hidden gems. Rebecca is everyone’s favourite American who’s precision to detail is second to none. Steph is the type of Communications Officer that every organisation in the country should aspire to have. Lastly Gareth, he lives and breathes SYP and carries out his job with a huge smile on his face.

Last but by no means least. Our exceptional staff team are managed by our outstanding Chief Executive, Hamira Khan. As many of you will know, today will be Hamira’s last sitting.

During the time I have known and worked with Hamira, she has been our number one advocator. She invests the time and effort in not only all of you as MSYPs, but she ensures the staff team are supported and also makes sure my job as Vice Chair allows me to flourish and thrive.

The extent of Hamira’s work is unknown to many, but I assure you, without her contribution over the last number of years, our organisation would not have the public, media and political standing that we enjoy now. She lives in meetings, and she is always finding opportunities for SYP to expand, develop and strive for better. The funniest thing of all is that she loves to clean the SYP office. Hamira you are an exceptional woman and I wish you all the very best in your new chapter in life.

MSYPs, please raise the roof and show you appreciation to nine of the most incredible staff members anyone has seen!

 

Before I move on there’s a few other people I would like to mention, my fellow Board colleagues. Rachael, Nairn and David, it’s been a privilege to work with you over the last eight months – the laughs have been outstanding, the support has been second to none and decision making has been tough. You all have your opinions on how good a Board we have been, but I know that we all share the view that we have given it our all. And the person who has ensured that we have given it our all is our amazingly talented chair, Louise Cameron.

Louise always puts in 110%, she’s always on standby to represent every young person in Scotland but she’s the best friend any one could have. As far as the role of Chair is concerned, she has gone above and beyond her call of duty.

Louise Cameron, you truly are an inspirational woman, and a born leader. I hope as your term as Chair comes to an end, you’ll feel nothing but pride and joy about what you have achieved. I think we can all agree our first elected female Chair has been outstanding! She’s smart, talented and exceptional at what she does and I’m proud to know you.

MSYPs, please join me in showing your appreciation for our Chair, Louise Cameron, MSYP for Moray.

 

MSYPs, you have taken ownership and pride over the work you do. As your Vice Chair, I couldn’t be any happier – it has been a joy and a privilege to serve on your 2014/15 Scottish Youth Parliament Board.

To those of you who have been re-elected, congratulations and I look forward to working with you for another two years. But remember you have already started to create a legacy and by 2017, I hope you will have learned from your mistakes, replicated the good things you have done but most importantly I hope you continue to be a strong voice for every young person in Scotland.

To those of you moving on to pastures new, I really do hope SYP has made an impact on your life and whatever path you may take, remember to continue the legacy of standing up for Scotland’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised young people. My one piece of advice is ‘ Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, with hard work and determination you can do anything you want and achieve anything you want.

Thank you for the laughs, the memories, and your commitment and dedication – I really do wish everyone here today the very best of luck in the future – you are the 2013/15 Scottish Youth Parliament membership. You’ve made an impact, created a legacy and I look forward to the reunion in 10 years’ time.

In my time at SYP, I’ve been Terri Miller, Terri Smith,  the Convener of banter and the proud Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament. But now as SYP comes to an end for many of you, I become Terri Smith, lifelong friend and someone who always has your best wishes at heart.

Thank you!

Youth democracy holds 56th National Sitting in Scotland’s Capital

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Youth democracy holds 56th National Sitting in Scotland’s Capital

Today (Friday 20th March 2015), the Scottish Youth Parliament will host its 56th national Sitting at the Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. Nearly 160 Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs), who are elected every two years, meet three times a year at National Sittings to debate policy, select campaign priorities, and host events with stakeholders and other guests.

This weekend is the last national Sitting of the current Membership. Each Membership is elected for a two year term. Following the SYP Elections 2015, which took place between 2nd March and 13th March, the MSYP elects will form the new Membership of the Scottish Youth Parliament from June 2015.

During the evening of Friday 20th March 2015, the SYP Awards will take place. As a youth-led organisation, the SYP Awards is a hugely significant occasion which recognises the outstanding work that Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) and their Support Workers do to represent Scotland’s young people. This event will provide an important opportunity to reflect on the legacy of the current Membership, and celebrate their commitment to ensuring young people are at the heart of shaping Scotland’s future.

Speaking about the two-day event, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP said:

“The Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Sitting is a fantastic opportunity for elected young people from across Scotland to come together and debate the issues of importance to their constituents. This will be the last Sitting of the current Membership, and I can confidently speak on behalf of the Membership when I say we have been on an extraordinary journey together over the past two years.

“It has been an honour to have represented Scotland’s young people as an MSYP. Since June 2013, SYP has held 6 national Sittings across the country, venturing as far as the Shetland Islands for our June 2015 AGM, and we’ve debated numerous issues that our constituents have told us are important to them, including zero hour contracts, work experience, among many others.

“We have campaigned on a range of issues of importance to Scotland’s young people, and helped foster a stronger, more inclusive Scotland by empowering young people to be truly involved in the decision-making process.

“One of my highlights as an MSYP has been witnessing the huge increase in the level of engagement of Scotland’s young people with politics. Around 80% of 16- and 17-year-olds registered to vote in the independence referendum, and knowing that SYP contributed to this legacy by engaging with over 18,500 young people and registered thousands of first time voters makes me extremely proud to have been an MSYP during this momentous occasion in our country’s history.

“I am particularly looking forward to the 2015 SYP Awards, and having the opportunity to celebrate the work of my fellow MSYPs, and their passion and commitment to ensuring the voices of Scotland’s young people continue to be heard and recognised by our country’s decision makers.”

Terri Smith, MSYP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, will be welcoming her fellow MSYPs to her TerriSmith hometown for the Sitting this weekend. Terri said:

“It’s great to be holding the 56th Scottish Youth Parliament Sitting in Edinburgh, which I am proud to represent. Following the recent SYP elections, I know my fellow MSYPs are looking forward to coming together for the final Sitting of our term and representing the voices of our constituents.

“SYP’s national elections were a huge occasion for Scotland’s young people, and I am delighted to have been re-elected as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Edinburgh Northern and Leith. While this Sitting will mark the final meeting of a Membership who have enjoyed two fantastic years filled with an array of historic achievements, I am looking forward to working with the future Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament and helping drive real change.”

Scottish Party Leaders call on young people to vote in Scottish Youth Parliament National Elections

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Scottish Party Leaders call on young people to vote in Scottish Youth Parliament National Elections

Young people are being urged to have their say as the deadline approaches for voting in the Scottish Youth Parliament elections.

Young people aged 12-25 are able to cast their vote to elect their local Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament until Friday 13th March 2015.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. It provides a national platform for young people to discuss issues important to them and affect the change they wish to see.

Young people can cast their vote by submitting a paper ballot or using the e-voting system, depending on the method chosen by their local authority.

Further information on candidates standing for election can be found at www.syp.org.uk/elections.

 

Nairn McDonald MSYP was re-elected as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Cunninghame South in 2013, and after 4 years as an MSYP, Nairn has chosen not to stand for re-election. Speaking about his time as an MSYP, Nairn said:

Nairn SYP bibble“The current Membership of the Scottish Youth Parliament has campaigned on a range of issues of importance to Scotland’s young people over the past two years. I’m so proud to have been at the heart of campaigns which have helped to shape historic changes in our society, such as the lowering of the voting age, marriage equality, and the implementation of policies to help young carers facing financial hardship.

“During my time as an MSYP, I’ve witnessed a huge increase in the level of engagement of Scotland’s young people with politics. Around 80% of 16- and 17-year-olds registered to vote in the independence referendum, and knowing that SYP engaged with over 18,500 young people and registered thousands of first time voters makes me extremely proud to have been an MSYP during this momentous occasion in our country’s history.

“As an organisation, we have passionately advocated for young people through three national campaigns. We’ve held 6 national Sittings across the country, venturing as far as the Shetland Islands for our June 2015 AGM, and debated numerous issues that our constituents have told us are important to them.

“This election is a hugely momentous occasion for Scotland’s young people, and with enthusiastic and committed young people at the forefront of shaping our society, I believe we can all look forward to substantive positive change driven by the future Members of SYP.

“Being a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament is a truly life-changing experience. I hope that everyone engages with the election campaigns taking place in their local area, and casts a vote for the candidate they would like to represent their views.”

 

Leaders and representatives of Scotland’s main political parties shared messages of support for all of those standing as candidates in the Scottish Youth Parliament national elections.

 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Scotland’s young people have never been more engaged in politics. Giving 16 and 17 year olds the chance to vote in the referendum helped hugely in fuelling the democratic engagement that saw a massive turnout of almost 85 per cent, with a record 3.6 million people turning out to vote, including more than 100,000 16 to 17 year-olds.

“I hope we see a continuation in that political engagement and wish all the candidates in the Scottish Youth Parliament National Elections the very best of luck.”

 

Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Kezia Dugdale MSP, said:

“Young people are often called the future of our democracy, but they are much more than that. The Scottish Youth Parliament is a fantastic opportunity for young people to shape Scottish politics today. I hope as many people as possible vote and stand in these important elections”

 

Scottish Conservative young people spokeswoman Liz Smith said:

“Young Scots proved themselves to be an engaged and articulate group during the referendum.

“I encourage as many young people as possible to stand and to get involved in the upcoming SYP elections.

“I wish everyone involved the very best of luck.”

 

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-Convenor of the Scottish Greens said:

“The Scottish Youth Parliament plays an important role in ensuring the voice of Scottish youth is heard and it is great to see so many people already getting involved. It is essential that young people are encouraged to participate in politics and are motivated to care about the way the country is run. Voting for candidates in the upcoming Scottish Youth Parliament election is a good first step in participating in this process. Congratulations to those who are standing and I wish all candidates the best of luck.”

 

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP said:

“I wish all of the candidates the best of luck in their campaign. 2014 was the year young people proved naysayers that they could carry themselves with dignity and maturity in public debate. I hope that 2015 sees the continued participation of young people in politics continue on such a huge scale. The Scottish Youth Parliament elections is a fantastic opportunity for young people to put their mark on society. I hope that young people vote use their responsibility to vote in these elections to demonstrate why it should be a right in every election.”

 

An open letter in support of the Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill to Members of the Scottish Parliament – Louise Cameron MSYP

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Dear MSP,

Support for the Proposed Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill

I am writing to you in your position as a Member of the Scottish Parliament in relation to the Proposed Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill, sponsored by Anne McTaggart MSP, to make you aware of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s support for the Bill ahead of the deadline for signatures from MSPs on Thursday 5th February.

In 2010, the following motion as passed at our July National Sitting:

Following similar moves in Wales to tackle a severe shortage of organ donors, the system for organ donation should be changed to an opt-out system rather than an opt-in system.

This motion was voted on again in 2013 and 2014 by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) who voted in favour by an overwhelming majority. As I am sure you are aware, a fundamental role of an MSYP is to consult with young people in their area and represent their views during these debates at our national sittings.

Therefore, I can say with confidence that moving to a soft opt-out system for organ donation carries significant support from Scotland’s young people.

In addition, our Health and Wellbeing Subject Committee further considered the contents of the Bill to inform our response to the public consultation. The Committee came out in unanimous support of the Bill and its provisions.

There can be no doubt, especially considering the evidence from other European countries, that a soft opt-out system results in increased donor rates which, in turn, saves lives.

As the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, I have a responsibility to communicate the views of young people to key decision makers in relation to important policy development, and in this capacity I would urge you to support this Bill by adding your signature before the deadline on Thursday 5th February 2015 at 16:30.
Yours sincerely,

 

Louise Cameron

 

 

 

 

Louise Cameron MSYP
Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Youth Parliament Launch Campaign to Tackle Child and Youth Poverty

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

 Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

Youth Parliament Launch Campaign to Tackle Child and Youth Poverty

On Friday 23rd January 2015, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched its national campaign to help combat child and youth poverty. The campaign, POVERTY: See It Change It, was launched by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) at the Fuse Youth Café in Glasgow.

The campaign aims to: raise awareness among young people and wider society about child and youth poverty; combat popular negative stigmas and speak about the reality of poverty in Scotland; and, challenge elected leaders and key stakeholders to work together to end child poverty by 2020.

More than one in five of Scotland’s children are considered to be living in poverty. This is much higher than in many other European countries.[1]

In 1999, the UK Government made the commitment to tackle child poverty in the nation by 2020. The UK Child Poverty Act 2010 made this commitment into law. With only 5 years to go until 2020, the Scottish Youth Parliament hopes its campaign will send the message that now is the time to seriously act.

Speaking about the launch of the campaign, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“It is unacceptable that one in five of our children and young people in Scotland live in poverty. Many young people in Scotland are simply robbed of their childhood. They are robbed of the opportunity to use their passion and talents to create a better and more prosperous future for themselves.”

“I believe it is time that we recognise the reality of poverty in Scotland, and make it our priority to work together to challenge the common misconceptions and negative stigmas it entails.

“This issue transcends party politics and goes to the very heart of who we are, and who we want to be as a nation. By working together, we can strive to ensure elected leaders uphold the commitment to tackle child poverty in Scotland and the UK by the year 2020. With five years to go, now is the time to seriously act.”

Nairn McDonald MSYP put forward proposals for the campaign to the SYP Membership in October 2014. Speaking about the aims of the campaign, Nairn said:

“Our MSYPs voted to campaign on this issue because that is what the young people in their areas asked us to do. The young people of Scotland have told us that this is a major issue for them, and there must be change. As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, we have a responsibility to stand up and be the drivers of that change.

“For me, I grew up surrounded by poverty, and I have seen the devastating impact it can have on a young person’s future and their quality of life. I am delighted that POVERTY: See It Change It is the SYP’s campaign for 2015, and I hope that MSYPs can inspire young people all over Scotland to get involved and champion its aims.”

[1] Barnardo’s UK. What Causes Child Poverty? http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/our_work/ child_poverty/child_poverty_what_is_poverty/what_causes_child_poverty.htm

 

Youth Parliament Chair encourages organisations to commit to the living wage

Monday, January 19th, 2015

 Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth Parliament Chair encourages organisations to commit to the living wage

The Scottish Youth Parliament has now been formally accredited by The Living Wage Foundation as a Living Wage Employer. The Scottish Youth Parliament has paid a living wage since its inception in 1999, but became formally accredited through the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative.

Through the “One Fair Wage” campaign, the Scottish Youth Parliament campaigned with other organisations to establish the scheme in Scotland.

The Poverty Alliance is working in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation to accredit Living Wage employers in Scotland.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

Speaking about the importance of a living wage Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament has now been formally accredited as a Living Wage Employer. We have known for a long time that low wages is the key driver of in-work poverty.

“It is simply not fair for employees to be paid a wage below what is required for an acceptable standard of living. Employers must play their part in combating in-work poverty through the living wage, and I would encourage all employers to join this scheme.

“We will launch our national campaign later this week to raise awareness of the severity of youth poverty in Scotland. Currently, research shows than one in five of Scotland’s children are considered to be living in poverty. This is much higher than in many other European countries.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said today:

“Congratulations to the Scottish Youth Parliament on joining the growing number of accredited living wage employers in Scotland.

“In work poverty has been on the rise in Scotland, with almost of two thirds of children in poverty living in a household where someone works.

“The Living Wage is one of the best tools for tackling in work poverty and ensuring a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

“We are pleased to see the Scottish Youth Parliament recognise the role of employers in tackling poverty, and hope others will follow their example”.