As previously reported by the Votes at 16 Coalition, Labour and Co-operative councillor Dr Tristan Learoyd had proposed a motion to Redcar and Cleveland Council to back a call to lower the voting age to 16.
We are happy to tell you that the motion was passed by Redcar and Cleveland Council on Thursday 21 July.
One amendment was made to the motion by a Liberal Democrat Councillor who stated that 16 year-olds should be also able to stand for election.
Congratulations to everyone who campaigned to make this happen, including a big thanks to UK Youth Parliament Redcar and Cleveland.
Cllr Dale Quigley, Labour Party Councillor for the Kirkleatham ward, told the press: “I was delighted that the Council accepted this motion, and that it was backed by some opposition councillors too [Redcar and Cleveland Council is a Labour Party led Council] . It is absurd that young people can join the Army, work, drive and even join a political party before they are allowed to vote. Lowering the voting age is something that would provide real representation and really engage young people in the democratic process.”
Cllr Mary Ovens, Lib Dem Group Deputy Leader, also said: “The right to vote and stand for election at 16 and 17 has been Liberal Democrat policy for many years. Currently 16 year olds can work and pay tax but have no say in how the money is spent. This is wrong and should change.”
The full motion is described below:
MOVED by Councillor Learoyd and duly seconded by Councillor Dunning that:
This Council notes:
• that 16 and 17 year olds are fully affected by decisions made by elected local authorities;
• that they can also leave school, get married, join the armed forces, have a full-time job and must pay income tax but are not allowed to vote or stand in public elections;
• that the introduction of citizenship education onto the national curriculum at key stages 3 and 4 is intended to ensure that young people will reach the age of 16 with a knowledge of political structures and how elections work;
• an increasing number of organisations support a reduction in the voting age to 16 including Barnardos, the British Youth Council, the Care Leaver’s Association, the Children’s Society, the National Union of Students, the National Youth Agency, the Co-operative and UK Youth Parliament.
• Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council supports the involvement of young people in the Youth Service and in the decision-making process, as seen with its support for UK Youth Parliament representatives.
This Council believes:
• that young people can be interested in politics and have valid views on issues that affect them;
• that 16 and 17 year olds are treated as adults for most purposes and that all adults should have the right to vote in public elections;
• that refusing to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote is likely to further depress turnout and encourage young people give up on formal political structures and thus lead to further political apathy.
This Council therefore resolves:
1. To support moves to lower the voting age for all public elections to 16 and;
2. To support the Votes at 16 Campaign.