At a meeting with young people arranged by the British Youth Council, the Deputy Prime Minister discussed Votes at 16 and said a “big yes” to the idea of the Government listening to the views and proposals of young people on key issues and welcomed the opportunity to expand on Government thinking behind policies which would affect them.
The Rt Hon Nick Clegg met with 10 young people aged between 14 and 25 at the ‘Youth Summit’, which took place in the Cabinet Office on 11 November. Among the issues discussed were Votes at 16, the reform of the electoral system, how young people can be involved in the Government’s Big Society agenda, the National Citizen Service, and the impact of the recent spending cuts on young people, ranging from the impact on youth services to tuition fees. It was agreed this would be the first of similar joint events.
Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg said of the Summit: “I’m really pleased to have met with the British Youth Council and I’m grateful to those who have volunteered their time to come to Westminster. I hope this is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue, and that we can work together to increase young people’s participation in the big issues that affect them. “We spent a hour talking about a whole range of things – education, higher education, spending cuts, youth services, political reform, how we can get younger people more involved in politics. Some we agreed – some we didn’t, but what struck me was that this was an opportunity for me to listen”.
“Too often I hear from young people that their biggest frustration is that they don’t think politicians and governments listen, and we’re trying to do something about that. This is just one initiative which I think will close that gap so that young people feel they’ve got a real voice at the heart of government. So I am looking forward to meeting with members of the British Youth Council again, and hearing how they think we can get more young people engaged in politics and in their communities.”