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Make Your Mark – Get Set, GO!

August 2014

The 2014 Make Your Mark ballot is now live! the UK Youth Parliament’s annual ballot of the public, giving young people their say on what is debated by their Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) in the House of Commons on 14th November.

The ballot will decide which five topics from a shortlist of ten will be debated in the chamber by elected MYPs. The debate will be chaired by The Rt. Hon.John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, recorded in Hansard and broadcast live on BBC Parliament. From these, the Youth Parliament will choose its priority campaigns for the year ahead.

Last year, the Make Your Mark ballot surveyed the opinions of a record 478,632 young people aged 11-18, making it the largest youth consultation of its kind in the UK. This year, MYPs have set themselves a target of getting 1,000,000 young peopleto take part.

Speaking at the Annual Sitting of the UK Youth Parliament, held in Lancaster in July, the Rt. Hon John Bercow MP said:

“The track record of dramatically increasing the numbers of young people with whom the UK Youth Parliament engage is indisputable. Year after year Make Your Mark is more and more effective in galvanising young people to say what interests them.”

Shay Miah, MYP for Hartlepool, said:

“I passionately believe in the importance of Make Your Mark – it empowers the voice of young people not only locally but nationally as well. The purpose of Make Your Mark is for Members of Youth Parliament to debate in the House of Commons on issues important to not only the young people in their constituency but also on behalf of young people all around the UK.”

Minister for Civil Society Brooks Newmark said:

“As a father with 5 children, I know how important it is that all young people are supported to fulfil their potential, regardless of their background or life circumstances. The Make your Mark campaign, supported by Government, plays an important role in enabling young people’s voices to be heard. I am delighted to support the launch of Make your Mark today and look forward to what will be a great debate in Parliament later this year.”

The ten topics on the ballot are:

1. Votes at 16. Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in elections and referendums.
2. Fund our youth services, don’t cut them. They help support us, they run activities and contribute to local communities.
3. A curriculum to prepare us for life. Schools should cover topics like finance, sex and relationship education, and politics.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Bring back exam resits in Maths and English in English schools, and help us achieve our potential.
7. Young people should be directly involved in making laws. An elected group of young people should have to approve government ideas and policies before they become law.
8. Everyone should be paid at least the Living Wage of £7.65 per hour (£8.80 in London). Anyone who works, regardless of age, should have a decent standard of living.
9. Give young people a voice in improving their communities. Councils and politicians should run activities to help us have a say, including through youth councils, conferences and consultations.
10. Euthanasia. With the assistance of a doctor and working within strict rules, terminally ill and extremely sick people should have the right to end their own life.

Priority topics in previous years have included Transport, Curriculum for Life, Votes at 16, Bullying, Unemployment and Careers Advice, with subsequent Youth Select Committee enquiries being commissioned by the British Youth Council into Transport, Curriculum for Life and Votes at 16 – all with a formal Government response.

The UK Youth Parliament will again be working in partnership with Parliament Week to promote the topics to schools and the public.

Voting is open until 10th October.

Mi-Voice is delighted to be providing the online voting channel for the Make Your Mark ballot.