Children’s election manifesto launched


A total of 17 organisations led by Children in Scotland have launched an alternative manifesto detailing actions that must be taken by Westminster

9th December 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Children’s charities have come together to make a series of calls to improve life for young people in the UK.

A total of 17 organisations led by Children in Scotland have launched an alternative manifesto detailing actions that must be taken by the new UK Government to transform children’s lives.

The manifesto calls range across key policy areas affecting young people and families and have been backed by national organisations and charities including YouthLink Scotland, the Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Wales, Children in Northern Ireland and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights).

The 14 calls include ending the benefit cap and readopting legally binding targets to reduce child poverty; extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds in all UK elections; and supporting the work of the Scottish Youth Climate Strikers, who urge the UK Government to commit to a specific target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Launching the manifesto last Thursday (5 December), Children in Scotland’s joint acting chief executive Amy Woodhouse said: “The policies the next UK Government pursues will be hugely consequential for children and young people – yet from party pledges to media coverage, young people’s priorities have barely figured in the general election campaign.

“Our manifesto, drawing on best evidence, our consultation work with children, and the views of our partners, is an opportunity to change that. We want to get these fundamental child policy issues onto the agenda in this last week of the campaign – and for the duration of the next UK parliament.

“We’re grateful to all our partners for endorsing these calls and ask anyone with an interest in progressing children’s rights and strengthening equality in the UK to champion them. From climate change to child poverty and voting rights to Brexit, we’ll be working with our partners here in Scotland and across the UK to hold the new government at Westminster to account.”

Tim Frew, chief executive of YouthLink Scotland, said: “As a nation we have made significant steps forward on children and young people’s rights and participation. If we are to truly realise those rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [UNCRC], we need to ensure that opportunities like Erasmus+ are not removed from our most disadvantaged communities.

“Votes at 16 in Scotland has been part of the commitment to ensure young people have a voice on the issues that affect them. It’s now time Westminster passed legislation to make this happen at UK level. We also say to all politicians who will sit at Westminster to review all barriers that are currently locking families into debt and deprivation which impacts the life chances of thousands of young people.”

Jack Dudgeon MSYP, chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “The next UK Government must ensure that the rights of children and young people in Scotland are at the heart of its policy agenda. I urge all candidates in the general election to stand up for those rights and ensure that the detailed policy calls in this manifesto are taken forward as urgent priorities at Westminster in the months ahead.”

The 17 organisations supporting the manifesto in full or endorsing calls are: Aberlour; Action for Children Scotland; Children 1st; Children in Wales; Children in Northern Ireland; Children’s Parliament; Friends of the Earth Scotland; Includem; LGBT Youth Scotland; One Parent Families Scotland; Parenting across Scotland; Poverty Alliance; Save the Children Scotland; Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs; Scottish Youth Parliament; Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) and The Young Women’s Movement.

The manifesto was shaped by the priorities of Children in Scotland’s members and partners; research and evidence across key child policy areas; learning from the charity’s projects; its 25 Calls campaign; and the views expressed by the children, young people and families the charity works with.