23/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 09:59

Welsh assembly debates idea of lower voting age of 16

Category: Wales

Published: 4th Jul 2012 11:39:13

A debate is to be held by Assembly Members on lowering the voting age to 16 in Welsh elections.

Although the assembly has no power to change the law, AMs say a vote in favour would send a positive message about young people's involvement in the democratic process.

It has been tabled with cross-party support from the main parties, and youth leaders have welcomed the debate.

Any decision to alter the voting age would rest with Westminster.

Guto Davies, 16, from Anglesey, along with other young people, will meet politicians before attending the debate in the Senedd.

Mr Davies, chair of Funky Dragon, the children and young people's assembly for Wales, said the law should be changed.

He said people aged 16 could do so many things, such as start a family, yet could not vote.

As a country we are willing to see our young people join the armed forces at the age of 16... yet we seem to think that youngsters are not mature enough to vote at that age”

AMs raising the issue are Julie Morgan (Labour, Cardiff North), Aled Roberts (Liberal Democrat, North Wales), Bethan Jenkins (South West Wales, Plaid Cymru) and Paul Davies (Conservative, Preseli Pembrokeshire)

They have put forward the motion that the "National Assembly for Wales supports lowering the voting age to 16 years in all elections and referendums held in Wales".

Mr Roberts said that while the issue had been part of Lib Dem party policy at UK level for some time, it had also been raised in Wales several times by young people he had met at sessions in schools.

"As a country we are willing to see our young people join the armed forces at the age of 16, have children and get married and yet we seem to think that youngsters are not mature enough to vote at that age," he said.

"Although I accept that this is currently a matter for the UK Parliament, I believe that the fact that the motion attracts cross-party support is an important indicator of opinion within the National Assembly."

Jessica Peters, 16, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, who will attend the debate, said she would love the opportunity to vote.

She added: "I know a lot of other young people feel the same way as me because at 16 years old, by law we can get married and start having families.

"Well, why can't we vote for who's running the country that our family's going to live in?

At 16 we're able to start earning the minimum wage, yet we can't vote for who's deciding what the minimum wage is”

"At 16 we're able to start earning the minimum wage, yet we can't vote for who's deciding what the minimum wage is, and things like that. It just doesn't seem fair."

In March Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler called for a debate on lowering the voting age in Welsh elections, telling the BBC Sunday Politics Wales show that the Isle of Man and Jersey had introduced the change.

The Scottish government wants 16-17-year-olds to take part in the nation's referendum on independence.

Ahead of the debate, Ms Morgan said: "I firmly believe that lowering the voting age would help engage our young people in the decisions that affect their lives.

"It should also set a pattern for greater participation in elections later in life."

Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales, said previously that she would rather a "broader" look was taken at voting patterns, because at the moment 18 to 24-year-olds were at the "poorer end of the spectrum" when it came to turning out to vote.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Welsh assembly debates idea of lower voting age of 16 [Online] (Updated 4th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1438542/Welsh-assembly-debates-idea-of-lower-voting-age-of-16 [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Junaid Khan: Lancashire re-sign Pakistan seamer

    Pakistan left-arm seamer Junaid Khan will return to Lancashire this season as an overseas limited-overs signing.
  • South Western Ambulance Service 'failed' on 111 call handling

    The South Western Ambulance Service has "failed to deliver the performance required" in answering weekend calls to the South West NHS 111 number, its chief executive has admitted.
  • Protest against Nant Llesg opencast mine plans

    A protest has taken place against plans for an opencast mine in the Rhymney Valley.
  • Flybe in London City Airport deal

    Flybe is to offer flights from London after signing a five-year deal with London City Airport.
  • Cairo bombing 'kills senior Egyptian policeman'

    A senior Egyptian police officer has been killed by a bomb blast in the capital, Cairo, security officials say.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com