On Saturday 15th January, Harry attended the monthly regional meeting of the UKYP. At the Northallerton County Hall, MYPs from across Yorkshire and Humberside met to progress their campaigns and to take part in a question and answer session with local representatives. Harry used this opportunity to quiz these officials on cuts to youth services.
The local politicians responded to a range of issues, however it was the topic of cuts which came up again and again. Harry asked Councillor Caroline Patmore, Lead executive member for children’s services) about these cuts:
“Many if not all local authorities are facing huge financial cuts and we’ve certainly felt them here [in UKYP]. There is wide agreement that in Sheffield the cut in the children’s budget is disproportionate when compared to cuts in other services. How in North Yorkshire will you prevent this?”
Cllr Patmore responded that it was her job to protect this budget in North Yorkshire and this is how she intends to proceed. However she acknowledged that cuts in all services are imminent.
Harry then enquired of Hugh Bayley MP for York Central about his work in this area.
“What is your responsibility in parliament with regards to championing issues relating to young people. We’ve seen an end to EMA, a sky-high rise in university tuition fees and uncertainty within vital services. Is drastic deficit reduction a plausible enough reason to increase student debt and threaten the accessibility of services so needed for vulnerable young people?”
Mr Bayley said that although young people are unable to vote, he still regards as his constituents. He is against both the scrapping of EMA and the increase in tuition fees and has acted accordingly in parliament to prevent both these measures.
Harry then asked Mr Bayley if, “In your opinion are young people getting a fair or unfair deal”. Mr Bayley said he personally does not believe young people are getting an unfair deal, but young people should be encouraged to voice their opposition wherever they feel they are getting an unfair deal.
Harry believes that young people are getting an unfair deal in many respects. The cuts to education, job opportunities and state support are key examples of this. However in terms of youth rights young people are making progress. The Sheffield City Council’s decision to ban the mosquito device is something that deserves recommendation and is a fantastic advance in respecting young people.