Youth Parliament bidding to exert more influence over senior politicians
Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament met with the full Scottish cabinet to "raise the issues that matter the most to young people in Scotland"
Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) met with the full Scottish cabinet for the first time ever this week in an attempt to exert more influence over decisions made by the Scottish Government.
Ten MSYPs (pictured) attended the meeting, with representatives from the Children’s Parliament giving the views of younger children.
The discussion, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has promised will now become an annual event, covered issues raised in SYP’s manifesto in addition to its current campaign on in improving support for young people with mental health issues.
Scotland’s place in Europe was another discussion topic, with young people’s rights acting as a cross-cutting theme across all of the discussions.
Terri Smith MSYP, chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “Young people need to be listened to and, as MSYPs, it is our job to make sure the voices of all the young people who voted for us are heard.
“I am delighted to have had the opportunity, alongside my colleagues, to raise the issues that matter the most to young people in Scotland with our most senior politicians.
“We are very grateful to the Scottish Government for giving us this opportunity to engage directly with them, and look forward to ensuring that not only are we listened to, but that we agree a clear way ahead to ensure that action is taken on the issues that matter the most to all of Scotland’s young people.”
The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland's young people.
Elections are held every two years, in which young people aged 14-25 from all across Scotland stand as candidates to become MSYPs.
Of their visit to the cabinet meeting, deputy first minister John Swinney said: “Scottish Ministers govern for all the people in Scotland so it is important that we take the time to listen to children and young people and give them the opportunity to participate in, and influence, local and national activities and decisions.
“Most areas of government impact on children and young people’s lives, so we need to be sure that our decision-making on policy and services considers their needs and interests.
“A key part of the cabinet will be Scottish ministers collectively agreeing actions to be taken forward over the coming year – while it is important to listen, we also need to act on what we have heard.”