Following the news the UK government was discussing plans to give 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland a vote in an independence referendum, the Votes at 16 Coalition gives its reaction to this new development

Rhammel Afflick, 18, on behalf of the Coalition said

“It is encouraging to see that the Prime Minister is considering giving 16 and 17 year olds the chance to vote in the Scottish Referendum. It signals a step in the right direction towards giving young people the chance to influence the decisions that will define their future.

“We at the ‘Votes at 16 coalition’ believe that 16 and 17 year olds should be given the vote in all public elections in the UK. Locking young people out of the political system is patronising and relies on out-dated views about young people’s capacities. Over 590,000 young people under 18 in the UK recently voted for their elected peers through youth councils, the Young Mayor Network, the UK Youth Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament, proving that if you engage young people at an early age they are more engaged and excited about elections and making their voice and vote count.

“At the age of 16, young people are legally allowed to leave school and enter work or training, consent to sexual relationships, get married or enter a civil partnership and join the armed forces. We believe that giving 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all public elections and referendums is the logical next step.”

Grant Costello MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament which is a member of the Votes at 16 Coalition said

“The Scottish Youth Parliament wrote earlier this month to both the UK and Scottish Governments to call on them to put aside their disagreements and work together to remove the barriers preventing 16 and 17-year-olds voting in the referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future.

“We therefore welcome the news the UK Government is prepared to discuss this issue.  We urge both Governments to seize the moment, sit down together, and make votes at 16 a reality.”