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Children in Scotland and partners' Manifesto for the next UK Government

Media Release:

Alternative children’s Manifesto for next UK Government launched

“Young people’s priorities are being ignored in this election”

One week before polling day, a partnership of 19 children’s organisations led by national charity Children in Scotland has launched an alternative Manifesto detailing actions that must be taken by the new UK Government to transform children’s lives.

The 14 calls in the Manifesto include:

  • Child poverty: End the benefit cap and readopt legally binding targets to reduce child poverty
  • Democracy: Extend the vote to 16 and 17 year olds in all UK elections – local elections, general elections and referenda
  • Climate crisis: Support 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
  • Europe: Continue EU funding for Erasmus+, allowing young people to study, volunteer and participate in youth work in the EU.

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).

Launching the Manifesto on Thursday, 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, who are endorsing the Manifesto in full, 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.”

Juliet Harris, Director of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), who are also supporting the Manifesto, said:

“In the 30th anniversary year of the UNCRC, the new UK Government must recommit to upholding the rights of all children and young people across the UK. Whilst progress has been made over the last three decades, we know there are many areas in which we are continuing to fall short.

“It is shameful that in 2019, child poverty is one of the most significant human rights issues across the UK. We urge all politicians to commit to the calls in this Manifesto to ensure the new UK Parliament is a rights-respecting parliament that puts the rights of children, young people and their families at the heart of every decision made.”

Jack Dudgeon MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, who are supporting the Manifesto’s calls relating to Right and Democracy, Children and Young People’s Place in Europe, and the Climate Crisis, 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 19 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
Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland
Friends of the Earth Scotland
Girlguiding Scotland
Includem
LGBT Youth Scotland
One Parent Families Scotland
Poverty Alliance
Save the Children Scotland
Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs
Scottish Youth Parliament
Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
The Young Women’s Movement
YouthLink Scotland

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.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Manifesto

Media contacts:

Chris Small, csmall@childreninscotland.org.uk
Tel 0751 998 2748

Lynn Gilmour, lgilmour@childreninscotland.org.uk
Tel 0131 313 8830

Our Manifesto for the next UK Government

Alongside 17 partners, we've made a series of calls ranging from rights to climate change

Download the Manifesto

Supported by Children in Wales

Children in Wales has endorsed the Manifesto in full

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Supported by Together

Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights) has endorsed the Manifesto in full

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Supported by Includem

Charity Includem is a Manifesto partner

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Supported by the Young Women's Movement

YWCA Scotland has endorsed our Manifesto

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Supported by Children in Northern Ireland

Children in Northern Ireland is one of our 16 Manifesto partner organisations

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Supported by SFAD

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs has endorsed the 14 calls

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Supported by Action for Children Scotland

Action for Children Scotland is supporting the Manifesto

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Supported by YouthLink Scotland

YouthLink Scotland has endorsed the Manifesto in full

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Girlguiding Scotland

Girlguiding Scotland has endorsed the full Manifesto

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Supported by Aberlour

Aberlour has endorsed our calls about Rights and democracy

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Supported by LGBT Youth Scotland

LGBT Youth Scotland has endorsed our calls about Rights and democracy

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Supported by Friends of the Earth Scotland

Friends of the Earth Scotland has endorsed our calls about the Climate Crisis

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Supported by Children 1st

Children 1st has endorsed our calls about Rights and democracy

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Children's Parliament

Children's Parliament has endorsed our calls about Rights and democracy

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Supported by One Parent Families Scotland

One Parent Families Scotland has endorsed our calls about Child Poverty

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Supported by Save the Children

Save the Children has endorsed our calls about Child Poverty

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Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland

The Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland has endorsed our calls about Child Poverty

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Supported by The Poverty Alliance

The Poverty Alliance has endorsed our calls about Child Poverty

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Supported by Scottish Youth Parliament

Scottish Youth Parliament has endorsed our calls about Children and young people's place in Europe

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