Children’s charities to release manifesto ahead of polling day

By Craig Paton, PA Scotland Political Reporter

Voting rights should be extended to 16 and 17 year olds, a group of children’s charities will say as they launch an election manifesto.

The 16-strong group, led by Children in Scotland, will also call for an end to the benefit cap, the reapplication of binding targets on child policy and the continued funding for the university Erasmus scheme – which helps students study in European countries.

Policies were decided by engaging with young people and their families, as well as policy areas identified by Children in Scotland.

The Scottish Youth Parliament, Friends of the Earth Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland were also involved in the writing of the document.

Launching the manifesto, Amy Woodhouse, the acting chief executive of Children in Scotland, 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 on to the agenda in this last week of the campaign – and for the duration of the next UK Parliament.”

She added: “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.”

Scottish Youth Parliament chairman Jack Dudgeon 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.”