Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Scottish Youth Parliament launches young voter engagement project

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Today, 5th February which is National Voter Registration Day, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched its young voter engagement project, “Aye, Naw, Mibbe: a little about politics, a lot about you”.

This project will help ensure that young people have access to impartial information, such as how to register to vote, and will be able to keep up to date with opportunities to engage in the debate with upcoming events. In addition, the project will also be a source of information to practitioners and those who work with young people by offering advice and resources about how to discuss the referendum in an impartial and safe manner.

The Scottish Youth Parliament recently convened a reference group of organisations who want to ensure that the views of young people are heard in the forthcoming debate on Scotland’s constitutional future, with a particular emphasis on hard to reach young people.

In addition, the Scottish Youth Parliament will receive additional funding support from the Cabinet Office detailed in an announcement this afternoon.  Five organisations, including the Scottish Youth Parliament, have been selected to receive funding to find new ways of reaching out to groups who feel most distant from the political process, and encouraging them to get involved in politics and register to vote.

Speaking on the day of the launch after the funding announcement, Kyle Thornton MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“The Scottish Youth Parliament is excited to be working with the Cabinet Office to improve voter registration.  Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have worked tirelessly to engage young people in democratic participation.  We believe it is important the voices of young people are heard in elections, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity this year to increase the democratic engagement and registration of 16 and 17 year olds, and young people aged 18-24 on the electoral register in Scotland.”

The focal point of the project will be an online hub, which will hold access to resources and other materials for young people and practitioners. The hub, www.ayenawmibbe.org, will be launched in the near future.

Scottish Youth Parliament Launch Campaign for Young Carers

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Young Carers in Scotland are currently facing a standard of living issue, which in many cases is forcing them to compromise on opportunities readily available to their peers. This will be the focus of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Campaign for 2014.

 

Today, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched their National Campaign, ‘Care.Fair.Share.’, to urge the Scottish Government to ease the financial strain facing young carers.

 

The Scottish Youth Parliament consulted widely about young carers in Scotland during the formation of its youth manifesto, “Change the Picture”, in 2010. The manifesto received nearly 43,000 responses from young people across Scotland, of which 88% indicated that the Government should develop a young carers strategy.

 

The campaign seeks to ensure that carers are treated fairly by society and government policies, and that their caring situations should not prevent them from further education and engaging in social activities. Several avenues will be pursued to alleviate  the financial difficulties faced by many young carers, including:

 

  • addressing anomalies in the administration of the Educational Maintenance Allowance that result in many young carers losing their EMA entitlement;
  • additional funding and bursary opportunities for young carers struggling to afford further education due to their caring responsibilities; and,
  • avenues to alleviate the cost of travel for young carers between school, work, and home to fulfil their caring and educational responsibilities. 

 

As a young carer herself, Lauren King, MSYP for Motherwell and Wishaw, is very passionate about the campaign.

 

Speaking ahead of the launch, Lauren said:

“As a young person who has a significant caring role, I am very aware how challenging it can be to manage your day-to-day duties while fulfilling your role as a young carer and simultaneously striving to achieve your full potential. As such, I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament has chosen to campaign for young carers.

“I believe the most challenging aspect for many young carers is multi-tasking. It is a constant struggle to make ends meet. Alongside caring duties there is simply not enough time to financially make ends meet and also prioritise education and other opportunities.

 

Speaking about the campaign, Kyle Thornton SYP Chair said:

“MSYPs from all over Scotland are incredibly passionate about this campaign and want to make a difference for Scotland’s young carers. These young people provide an invaluable service to their families and society, and should not have to face this hardship.

“I would encourage everyone to help raise awareness and lend their support to this campaign.”

 

Speaking about the campaign, Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said:

“Young carers are a vital part of our society and I know the very real contribution they make to the lives of those they care for. I am pleased that the Scottish Youth Parliament is highlighting the issues young carers face through their national campaign.   It is important that young carers have the same opportunities as other young people.  We have now launched our carers’ consultation which we hope many young carers will feed into.  This, along with our young carers strategy will improve support for young carers across Scotland.”

 

Speaking about the campaign, Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell said:

“The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill will further Scotland’s ambition to be the best place to grow up. The Bill includes key elements of GIRFEC (Getting It Right for Every Child) which puts the child and young person and their wellbeing at the centre of the design, planning and delivery of services. We welcome the Scottish Youth Parliament’s campaign to raise awareness of the important role young carers play in supporting and caring for family members.”

 

A New Year Message – Kyle Thornton MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

 

We Need to Talk About Europe

Friday, December 6th, 2013

This weekend, a delegation of MSYPs attended the “We Need to Talk About Europe” Conference in Belfast, hosted by WIMPS and Public Achievement.

The conference focused on how young people can be engaged in European politics ahead of the European Parliament elections next year.  The conference was timely for the Scottish Youth Parliament, given our recent project, Audio Europa, aimed at encouraging people to vote in the European Parliament elections in May 2014.  WIMPS were also launching their Be Counted campaign, with similar aims.

Not only were the various discussions, debates and panel Q&As based on involving people in the decisions which affect their lives, but the process of bringing together young people from throughout the UK meant there was opportunity to put the principles debated into practice.  Informally, we shared our experiences of voting, work in our local communities and sharing our enthusiasm for politics with our peers.

 

There were some excellent debates (some of which got pretty heated!) and panels to question throughout the weekend.

 

Some of the interesting themes and questions presented included:

  • The use of the term young people.  Should being under 25 mean you have to be categorised differently by decision makers seeking to engage you or win your vote?  Do laws and decisions not affect those who are aged 5, 12, 16, 18, 25, 45 and 80 equally?
  • Those attending the conference were representing all areas of the UK. When MSYPs asked others what they enjoyed about the conference, most people said it was engaging with others from around the UK.  Given the many layers of legislatures in the UK, and the many identities people in the UK adopt, regardless of the extent to which they would consider themselves, how easy is it to engage in European politics?  Discussions often turned back to local issues and it was fascinating to hear the issues affecting people from around the UK in their local areas.  Does the work of the European Parliament need to be localised in order for us to be engaged?
  • Does having the right to vote equate to having the responsibility to vote?
  • Does the term “disengaged” lay blame or fault with those who don’t participate?  Could you define the difference between unengaged and disengaged?  Do the different definitions require different approaches when discussing participation?
  • Young people: the future or the here and now?  Discuss….(and we did)

 

Here’s what some of us had to say about the weekend:

“It was great to meet with people throughout the UK to improve relations between young people and politics, and to talk about the European Union and how it affects our lives.  It was especially good to meet people from Northern Ireland, and to gain a better understanding of politics in the country and how communities and youth organisations are building a new politics with new hope for the future.”

Gary Paterson, MSYP

I really enjoyed engaging with people from around the UK and NI politicians, as the system is so different.  It was great to learn more about it.”

Nairn McDonald, MSYP

There was interesting debate on my suggested topic of “Engaging the Disengaged”.  I learned more about what the European Parliament actually does – it’s not just fisheries!”

Terri Smith, MSYP

The opportunity to engage with people from across the UK was a fantastic one.  In particular, it provided us with a platform to discuss European democracy and parliamentary participation which is important as the EU institutions account for 50% of our law making.  I look forward to taking back what I have learned and the passionate discussions we have had ensuring that Scotland’s young people have similar opportunities to discuss European parliamentary participation, and get out and vote!

Jordan Linden, MSYP

 

I enjoyed the passionate debate with young people.  I have also learned a lot about myself and it offered me the chance to consider and challenge my own views.  Sometimes you need to be in a situation like this, discussing your views and those of the young people of Scotland, to reflect on your opinions.

Sian Hughes, MSYP

 

The “We Need to Talk About Europe” conference in Belfast provided a great opportunity for young people from across the UK to engage in meaningful debates and discussions around the European community and disengagement with the political process.  I enjoyed hearing regional perspectives towards Europe and, yet again, young people’s passion for social change was evident.  I am extremely proud of the contributions made by Team Scotland delegates to what was a fantastic weekend.”

David Stewart

 

We also asked some of our colleagues from around the UK for their views on the conference.

 

The best thing about the conference was the diversity of the young people who attended.  There were so many different political backgrounds there.

Mickey Murray, WIMPS Coach

 

I enjoyed meeting people from the different regions and getting to hear why they are involved in politics in their local area.  It was great to discuss what is happening in the EU to good to discuss how young people could be more involved.  It was also good to meet some of the Northern Ireland MLAs.

Richard Murphy, WIMPS Coach

 

It was lovely to investigate the thoughts of members of the Scottish Youth Parliament and to engage socially.  Examining the differences between Funky Dragon and the Scottish Youth Parliament will be really beneficial to the development of our organisations.  The Cardiff Youth Council look forward to any opportunity to work with the Scottish Youth Parliament

Sydney Isaac and Samuel Paterson, Cardiff Youth Council (thanks guys, we’re blushing!)

 

We’d like to finish by saying a huge thank you to our hosts, WIMPS and Public Achievement.  The conference was a great chance to debate with like minded, politically charged young people from around the UK.  With new friendships forged and lots of ideas to bring back to our constituencies, we’re looking forward to May 2014 and being counted.

Scottish Youth Parliament urges MSPs to vote “YES” on Equal Marriage

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013


The Scottish Youth Parliament has urged MSPs to listen to the views of their young constituents and vote in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill due to be debated in Parliament tomorrow.

 

The Scottish Youth Parliament has campaigned extensively for this issue over the last number of years along with other partners including NUS Scotland, the Equality Network, Stonewall Scotland and others.

 

Speaking ahead of the vote, SYP Vice Chair Louise Cameron MSYP, who gave evidence on the Bill to the Equal Opportunities Committee in advance of its Stage 1 report, said:

 

“The young people of Scotland have told the Scottish Youth Parliament that they believe this is a very important issue. In our Youth Manifesto, “Change the Picture”, 74% of 43,000 responses agreed that equal marriage should be enshrined in Scottish law and over 2,000 young people signed our ‘Love Equally’ petition in 2012.”

 

“The Scottish Youth Parliament worked with our coalition partners to secure nearly 18,000 responses to the initial consultation on this legislation, the biggest response to any Scottish Government consultation. Whilst we appreciate that this Bill will not remove inequality from our society in itself, it is a big step in the right direction.”

 

“The young people of Scotland have clearly expressed their desire for their MSPs to vote in favour of this Bill, and SYP urges all politicians in the Scottish Parliament to take the views of their young constituents on board and overwhelmingly pass this legislation.”

 

Closing Speech to #SYP52, Kyle Thornton MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

©DN AndersonI think you’ll agree with me that we have had an excellent weekend. We’ve discussed and decided our policies on range of issues and have done our duty as MSYPs – speaking up for the young people we represent. We also have a new national campaign, Young Carers’ Grant, which we will be launching at the start of the year and I look forward to that.

There is one thing that will also dominate Scottish political debate for the next 11 months and that’s the referendum.

It’s an issue that can get people very passionate, on both sides, but it’s not something we should shy away from. As Scotland’s democratically elected voice for young people, we have a duty to make sure that every young person in Scotland gets the chance to be informed and engaged in the referendum debate.

All you need to do is turn on the news or watch a debate on the referendum to see the challenge ahead of us. Instead of real ideas and debate, we see a referendum debate focused on who slandered who, what celebrity is supporting what and why the other side are such bad people.

Well, I have one message for the two campaigns.

Scotland young people want to see two campaigns debating the real issues about our nation’s future, it’s time to take the debate to the next level and start making a real case to young people about why they should support your campaign. Scotland deserves to have a real debate focused on the issues that genuinely informs. It’s now the duty of the campaigns to deliver that.

The Scottish Youth Parliament will do all it can to make sure young people are informed and engaged. We will work with both campaigns to give young people the chance to engage and ask them the real questions in this debate and what I need from you is very simple. Continue doing the fantastic work you do locally and do as much as you can to take the debate to young people in your local area and use our neutral position as a way of presenting both options equally and letting young people make up their own mind on the 18th September next year.

Alongside our national campaign, we will also be launching a Young Voter Engagement Project in January. Through this project, SYP will take the lead, working together with partner organisations, to encourage young people to engage with the debate. This is very exciting, and we are already considering creative and bold ways to do this! But we need your help, we need your ideas, your energy and your passion! Time after time, we have shown that when we work together, we can achieve amazing things! This time will be no different. This will be our role in this piece of Scottish history and it’s a very important role, and we have the opportunity to shape that history by ensuring our young people’s voices are heard.

However, there’s one thing that I do need to ask you to do every day as a MSYP and that’s tell SYP, and tell the world what you’re up to as a MSYP. Tweet us, facebook us, e-mail us and let us know what you do because its only when we know what MSYPs are doing that we can celebrate that work. But we also need your help in promoting the work that SYP as a whole does. MSYPs are SYP and so we need you to re-tweet our opportunities, spread the word about our campaigns and get behind the projects we run, that help further our vision of a nation of young people influencing and engaging with democracy and Government. If you have an event coming up that you will like to promote in your local paper, call our Public Affairs Team. They will be more than happy to help you!

Now, I’m afraid it’s almost time for us to leave Dundee.

I’d like to thank Dundee City Council for hosting us, Apex for their technical support and the S-work for their catering. I’d also like to thank you as MSYPs, guests and support workers for coming along and making this sitting possible.

There is one more special thank you. I’d like to thank Rosy, our Events Officer. There is a massive amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to plan our sittings. I’d like to personally thank Rosy for all of her hard work, and to congratulate her on her recent graduation. Rosy, if you would like to come up to stage and accept a small token of our appreciation.

Before you leave, I’d just like to ask support workers to make sure voting pads and name badges and returned to reception before leaving.

I look forward to seeing you all again when our 53rd sitting takes place in Stirling on the 22nd and 23rd of March hosted by Stirling and Clackmannanshire.

Have a good journey home and please keep in touch.

MSYPs to campaign for grants for young carers

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) has selected funding provision for young carers as its national campaign.

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament voted on a shortlist of campaigns on Saturday afternoon at their National Sitting held in Menzieshill Community Centre, Dundee. The winning campaign was announced by Vice Chair, Louise Cameron on Sunday morning.

The Scottish Youth Parliament lodged a petition on the issue to the Public Petitions Committee at the Scottish Parliament in March 2013.

Speaking immediately after the announcement, the lead petitioner, Lauren King MSYP said:

“I believe this is an important campaign which has the potential to have a significant positive impact on the young people that it will affect.”

“Young carers face significant challenges in terms of meeting their educational commitments as well as having the space and capacity to be young people. It is important that they are provided with income support so that they do not miss out on valuable opportunities because of the very valuable service they provide to their community.”

“The Government has indicated that will issue a consultation on specific legislation for young carers, our campaign will help to ensure that young peoples’ views are reflected in this consultation, and any forthcoming legislation.”

Also speaking after the announcement, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Kyle Thornton MSYP, said:

“I look forward to continuing to build on the good work that has been carried out on our petition. We know from our work in our constituencies and the mass consultation exercise for our youth manifesto, which received nearly 43,000 responses, that this issue is important for a lot of young people. Young carers provide an invaluable service to our community and they deserve to be supported. The Scottish Youth Parliament has made a huge impact with our previous campaigns, Love Equally and One Fair Wage. I have no doubt that we can be even more successful with this campaign.”

 

Opening Remarks and Campaign Announcement – Louise Cameron, Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Good Morning everyone and thank you for coming, I hope you are all having a lovely weekend so far in Dundee. I hope you all enjoyed having an extra hour in your bed with the clocks going back.  I hope that too many of you didn’t forget and show up an hour early this morning.

I would just like to go over some basic housekeeping. We are not expecting a fire alarm so if you do hear one please evacuate the building. We will meet on the grass next to the rear of the building beside the car park. If we do need to exit the building please report to your support worker. If you don’t have a support worker please report to Jamie Dunlop, he will know who will be looking for him so if you don’t show up it will cause issues. If anything does happen where we need to evacuate please don’t put anything on social media or text or call anyone to tell them, we don’t want things to affect SYP negatively and it will make the situation more complicated.

Please feel free to tweet throughout the sitting, the hashtag is SYP52 and I would encourage you to join in the fun on twitter. Please remember to tweet responsibly, and keep your phones on silent to not disrupt any sessions.

Toilets are at the back of the hall, in the foyer and upstairs and the smoking area is through the cafe area, not at the front of the building or in the car park.

The lead first aider this weekend if Rosy Burgess so if you feel unwell or need first aid just speak to one of the staff members who will be wearing a blue shirt and ask them to help find her.

We have such a charismatic group of young people sitting in this room today and I would like to personally thank you all for joining our organisation and making a difference locally and nationally. I am so proud to be vice chair of an organisation whose members are passionate, hard working and vocal in the decisions that will affect them and the young people they represent. I’d like to take this opportunity to quickly mention my members of the moment for this month – Nicole Pringe, Frinlay Duff and Scott Redmond have been working extremely hard in their constituencies. As well as writing to 7 MSP’s about One Fair Wage they have also attended a cabinet tour civic reception giving them the opportunity to discuss current SYP issues with MP’s, MSP’s and Ministers. They have also been filmed for a Swedish piece on the referendum, and spoken live on the BBC on Votes at 16. They have also been into three schools speaking about One Fair Wage and have made a petition that was signed by most people in the school. This is just one example of all the hard work members have been doing and I would like to encourage you all to stop being modest and come forward if you are working hard. “Member of the Moment” will be a feature of my future Vice Chair Updates so speak to either me or a member of staff if you are working extremely hard and have your work noticed!

 

We have an exciting day ahead of us today with things such as your subject committee time, board Q and A, a motivational speaker and hearing from Dundee Youth council. But now the exciting part which you have all been waiting for, the results of the campaign selection. Drum roll please… the new national campaign will be “Young Carers’ Grants”!

 

We are now going to hear from Daniel Coleman MSYP and Dundee Youth Council who are going to tell us about their local activities.

 

Thank you.

Scottish Youth Parliament Campaigns Update – Junaid Ashraf MSYP

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Fellow MSYPs, Support Workers, and staff,

It’s my pleasure to speak to you today and provide you with an update on the current MSYP campaigns. Well, actually the reason why it is such a pleasure to talk to you today is because these campaigns are no longer current… they’ve been achieved.

In the last number of weeks and months, because of the hard work of the Scottish Youth Parliament and you, the Members, significant progress has been made with both Love Equally and One Fair Wage.

Taking Love Equally first, SYP have been continuing its work on the Equal Marriage Bill and wider awareness raising of the Love Equally campaign as a secondary priority to One Fair Wage. However, the Conveners Group felt it was important to maintain our activity and involvement until the legislation has been passed in Parliament. The SYP staff has been continuing to engage with other partner organisations to present a united front on the Equal Marriage Bill to ensure its safe passage through Parliament. I want to take this opportunity to thank our Vice Chair, Louise Cameron, for the amazing job she did representing SYP when giving evidence on the Bill to the Equal Opportunities Committee in September. Thank you Louise!

Our evidence, along with that of our partners is still being considered by the Committee in advance of the first stage of the debate in Parliament. Whilst we have achieved our campaign objectives in ensuring a massive response to the consultation, which ultimately resulted in the Bill, we still have work to do. Over the next few weeks, the debates on the legislation will begin in Parliament. So I would really encourage all our MSYPs to keep up the pressure by sharing and engaging with the social media messages from SYP and other organisations. In the next few weeks, the Public Affairs team will send out a standard template letter for MSYPs to send to their MSP in advance of the first debate. I would really encourage you all to participate in this activity as this was a huge priority for the young people of Scotland, as seen in our “Change the Picture” Youth Manifesto and we have shown how effective we can be when we all work together.

I am also delighted to inform the membership, about the significant progress made in our national campaign for this year, One Fair Wage. As many of you will know, a key element of the campaign was our “Scottish Living Wage Recognition Scheme” petition. Back in March, Andrew McGowan, on behalf of SYP, submitted a petition to the Public Petitions Committee in the Scottish Parliament. The Committee wrote to the Government to ask for their views on a number of occasions. I am delighted to inform our Membership, that on Friday at the SNP Conference, the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, a signatory of our One Fair Wage Pledge, announced that the Scottish Government  will introduce a Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Scheme.

This is fantastic news and I would like to thank everyone for their hard work.  Yet another campaign success for SYP. In particular, I would like to thank former MSYP Andrew McGowan for all of his hard work with the petition.

On behalf of the Conveners Group, I would like to thank you all for your hard work on the campaigns. We look forward to continuing to work with you all on our new campaign. Please keep getting in touch with your views so we can bring them to our meetings.

I hope you’re all enjoying the weekend,

Thank you.

Opening Remarks – Kyle Thornton MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

©DN AndersonIt’s my absolute pleasure to welcome you all to the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 52nd Sitting being held here in sunny Dundee. We have a fantastic weekend lined up with members motions, quickfire policy, European hustings and selecting our new national campaign for 2014 and everything else we do at our sittings.

I’m very pleased to also introduce to you our new staff team. Our team don’t just do a job, they put a little bit of their passion in giving young people a voice, in everything they do and I am so proud to lead an organisation that they are a part of. I’d like you to give a warm SYP welcome to Jenny, our Development Manager; Rosy, our events officer; Jamie, our Youth Engagement Co-Ordinatior; Callum, one of our Youth Engagement Workers; Rhiannon, our other Youth Engagement Worker; Gareth, our Public Affairs Co-Ordinator and of course our Chief Executive, Hamira Khan. We are also in the process of recruiting three more staff members to support us in our work and I look forward to introducing them to you at our next sitting.

As an organisation, we’re going from strength to strength. We have fantastic MSYPs and a great staff team but I’d also like to thank the rest of the board for their work since they were elected 4 months ago. Louise, Rhiordan, Kris, Rachel, Junaid and Scott are some of the most inspiring people to work with and I’m very proud to call them my board colleagues.  

As a board, we’re been focused on delivering for MSYPs. Now, it takes time for some changes but I’m happy that this weekend one promise will kept; the return of Board Q&A, in full as promised. I can also announce that after the sitting we will be holding a consultation on evening entertainments at sittings to give MSYPs a chance to let us know what exactly they want to see at a sitting. Of course, our sittings are limited by budgets but we are much more able to maximise our resources when we know what MSYPs want to see.

Firstly, I need to run through some of the housekeeping instructions. We are happy for you to use your phone and tablets to tweet and access documents but please put them on silent so they don’t interrupt any of the sessions; there are toilets at the back of the hall, in the foyer and upstairs; the smoking area is through the cafe area, not at the front of the building or car park; tea and coffee will be available throughout the weekend, and there will be lunch and breaks but please try not to leave a session.

We aren’t expecting a fire alarm, so if it goes off we will be evacuating teh building. The muster point is to the rear of the building on the grass next to the car park. If we need to exit the building, you must report to your Supper Worker, who will let the staff know you are here. If your support worker isn’t here, please report to Jamie Dunlop- he will know who he is expecting, so if you don’t turn up we will send the emergency services looking for you.

If we do need to evacuate the building or have any other incidents, then please don’t tweet or post anything on Social Media, or text/call anyone to tell them. This can make situations difficult to resolve and can have a negative impact on SYP but don’t worry, we’re not expecting anything to happen!

The first aider this weekend is Rosy Burgess – if you feel unwell or need first aid, please find a staff member in a blue polo shirt and they will contact Rosy for you.

Now that we’ve got that all away, we can get the weekend started. I’d like to thank Dundee City Council for their support in preparing the sitting and our caterers, S-Word, a programme that helps young people in Dundee to develop skills and experience in catering and support them in their job search.

We have a packed weekend coming up but I think it’s important we take a moment to think about why we’re here. We’re here to represent the young that elected us just six months ago. We’re here to speak up for the young people in our local areas and about what they’re concerned with, what will make their lives better  and what our Government can do to make Scotland the best place for them to live in.

And let’s take a moment to celebrate a very recent campaign success. For over a year, we’ve been campaigning for the Scottish Living Wage as part of our One Fair Wage campaign. One of the pragmatic options we put forward to the Scottish Parliament was for a Scottish Living Wage Employer Recognition Scheme.  

I’m very proud that last weekend the Deputy First Minister announced that the Scottish Government would be putting our idea into practice with an accreditation scheme to be introduced in the near future.

Once again, the Scottish Youth Parliament has recognised a principle, we’ve campaigned for it, we’ve developed real practical proposals and we’ve seen the Government listen and take action. Ladies and Gentlemen, we should be very proud that we are delivering for Scotland’s young people.

This weekend, I hope we’ll be starting a fresh campaign journey that will have similar successes when we choose our new national campaign.

I know for many of you this is your first full sitting filled with debates and campaigns. I’d like to add a special welcome to Amy Lee, David, Samuel and Ryan who have all recently been elected to SYP in by-elections and for whom this is their first ever sitting.

Now, it’s time to get started.