Between August and October of this year, elected Island Youth MP Will Matthews took part in the annual Make Your Mark ballot, the largest consultation of young people in the country, which has been hailed as a great success for 2014.
In a ballot, young people across the country were asked what issues mattered most to them, in order to determine what is debated by the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) in the House of Commons on 14th November. Voting took place both online and through ballot papers issued in schools and youth centres.
Five topics were chosen from the initial Make Your Mark ballot paper, which will be discussed by MYPs in their November debate, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP and broadcast live on BBC Parliament. The five topics were:
- Votes at 16 – Give 16 year olds the right to vote in elections and referendums.
- Living wage – Anyone who works, regardless of age, should be paid the living wage of £7.65 per hour (£8.80 in London).
- Mental health – Mental health services should be improved with our help. We should all learn about common mental health issues at school and negative stereotypes should be challenged.
- Work experience – We should have the chance to do at least a week’s placement, at a place of our choosing. We should have access to professionals who inspire us.
- Exam resits – Bring back exam resits in English and Maths in English schools, to help us achieve our potential.
This year, the Make Your Mark ballot surveyed the opinions of almost 870,000 young people, making it the largest youth consultation of its kind in the UK, with the island reaching just under 1000 votes, a great improvement and a record breaker for us!
On the island, the most popular issues were the living wage, exam resits and euthanasia.
16 year-old MYP Will, who ran the Make Your Mark campaign on the Isle of Wight, said:
“It was absolutely amazing to get the views of so many young people! I am so proud of all of our young people on the island, and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that voted, and all the schools that took part, without them, this would not have been possible!
“It was interesting to see the local results this year, I didn’t expect the living wage to be at the top, and I certainly didn’t expect euthanasia to be in the top three – but that’s what this campaign was all about – getting the views of young people! I can’t wait to debate these topics in the House of Commons in November!”