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#Wales2016: Here's What Candidates Said About The Issues That Matter To Young People - In Cardiff West

Postiwyd gan cardiffyouthcouncil o Caerdydd - Cyhoeddwyd ar 04/05/2016 am 17:06
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  • Senedd ballot box with children and young people

We at Cardiff Youth Council (CYC) decided to question the Welsh Assembly candidates of Cardiff on issues raised by you, young people in Cardiff - ahead of 5th May's election.

Using these issues highlighted by young people, we devised a series of questions for each of Cardiff’s 28 Assembly Candidates representing 7 different parties, across four different constituencies, to record their responses in this Special 2016 Welsh Assembly Election Edition Shout-out.

Here are the responses for Cardiff West.

CYC have worked with young people across the city to highlight the following priorities in 2016:

·       A curriculum which prepares us for life

·       High quality mental health services

·       Tackling racism & religious discrimination

·       The Living Wage for all

·       A reduced voting age to 16 

“In no more than 500 words, please explain how you intend to address these issues if elected.”

Cadan ap Tomos – Liberal Democrats

As a young person who grew up in Wales and who now lives and works in Cardiff, I know better than most just how much we need to do to ensure every young person in our city and nation can thrive. That's why I'm standing to become the youngest ever Welsh Assembly Member – to put the voice of youth at the heart of our decision-making, and fight so every young person can reach their full potential.

From my own experience, and talking to my brother currently at school, I know that the education system doesn't always prepare us for the life ahead. That's why I'm pleased the Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to introducing a Curriculum for Life - one which will teach practical skills like cookery, financial management and political awareness, as well as vastly improve sex and relationships education to properly deal with issues like sexuality, gender and consent.

I'm frustrated at the way mental health is too often treated as an afterthought in our NHS, and while we've seen some improvements in waiting time targets, the current Labour Government doesn't seem to think children and young people should be treated as quickly as adults. Welsh Lib Dems will make it law that mental health has to be treated equally with physical health, reform targets so young people aren't discriminated against, and ensure the mental health system has the resources it needs so we can take these illnesses seriously.

I love the diversity of our city. Being surrounded by different cultures and beliefs helps make Cardiff great. But where we see discrimination of any kind, we must work to stamp it out. I'm pleased to be fighting with Judith Woodman, our local Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, to ensure young and BME people aren't unfairly targeted for stop and search.

The principle of a fair day's pay for a fair day's work is something my party and I are committed to. Welsh Lib Dems will ensure the Welsh Government and other parts of the public sector move towards becoming a Living Wage employer, and we'll use procurement tools to drive up wages elsewhere. We'll focus particularly on the care sector, to ensure that staff are paid for travelling, promote the living wage, and end the use of zero hour contracts.

As a 16 year old, I was frustrated that I couldn't vote, and I know many across our city feel the same way. When these powers are given to the Assembly, Welsh Lib Dems will fight to lower the voting age to 16 for all elections and combine this with improved political education to create an engaged young electorate.

From securing extra money to help our poorest pupils thrive, to lowering the cost of bus travel for 16-18 year olds, Welsh Liberal Democrats have a strong record of standing up for young people. Please support me on 5th May so I can be the voice of youth in the Senedd. 

Gareth Bennett – UKIP

A curriculum which prepares us for life

Ukip aims to promote better literacy and numeracy at primary school level. There should be regular access to maths and science specialists from colleges and other schools.

At secondary level, Ukip believes that education should reflect the fact that different students have different abilities, interests and skills. We want to introduce grammar schools for the academically minded, and university technical colleges (UTCs) for those students who are more inclined to follow a vocational path.

UTCs, which are already operational in England, will work with employers and a local university to help deliver their curriculum. It is important that the UTCs are held in equal esteem with grammar schools. After all, everyone who works for a living should be treated with equal respect - I speak as someone who has done both clerical and manual jobs, and who isn't afraid to get muck on his hands. We have to get rid of the snobbish idea that everyone has to go to university, and everyone who doesn't has in some way 'failed'. Everyone must follow their own path in life, and nobody 'fails' if they end up doing what they choose to do. The UTCs will play an important practical role in easing the difficult path from the education system into salaried employment. It will also address skills shortages in the UK (for instance, construction workers), and will counteract the growing problem of gingoism - graduates (of which we have far too many) in non-graduate occupations. It should be acknowledged that skilled construction workers can earn more, in many cases, than university graduates.

Physical activities are also important. Ukip opposes the sale of school playing fields, and recognises the role of schools in promoting physical fitness. This idea, if applied practically, will also ease the burden on the NHS.

High quality mental health services

Ukip wants one member of every health board in Wales to champion mental health issues. We oppose cuts in mental health services, and want to ring-fence funding for these at a higher level than is currently provided by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Tackling racism and religious discrimination

Ukip opposes racism and religious discrimination. I am particularly concerned at growing discrimination against practising Christians and Jewish people.

The Living Wage for all

Ukip wants better wages for those at the lower end of the pay scale, and has called for all minimum wage earners to be taken out of paying tax. Broadly speaking, wage levels are dependent on supply and demand. Controlling immigration to the UK would reduce the amount of workers entering our job market, allowing wages to rise naturally.

A reduced voting age to 16

Ukip has not previously championed this change. Personally, I have no fixed view on this. We need to have to have some form of political education in schools - but this would be controversial. Who would teach it? How would it be impartial? I am sure this will be an interesting debate in the coming years. 

Hannah Pudner – Green party 

The Wales Green Party is the only party in this election to publish a specific Youth Manifesto, as well as an LGBTIQ+ manifesto. We are a party for the youth of Wales. This is a manifesto written by the younger members of the party – written by the youth of Wales, for the youth of Wales. With policies such as votes at 16, free higher education, more apprenticeships, free bus passes, better LGBTIQ+ education in schools, we want to make the youth of Wales more involved within the works of our country and give them a better chance at life.

The key areas are:

Education: a full and complete education, throughout life for free. Whether its apprenticeships, university or further education colleges, wherever you study the curriculum must equip you to succeed. So you don’t just learn your subject areas, you also learn other important things, such a mental healthcare, first aid and personal finance. And the price of it should never be a barrier, education should be free.

Employment: a minimum wage of £8.25 – a minimum wage that is a living wage, with no age restrictions. And far more support provided for younger people to start their own businesses and become self-employed.

Tackling bullying: we must fight homophobia, transphobia, religious intolerance, sexual harassment and all forms of bullying – providing more support services and advice for people in schools, including anti-bullying policies in schools, colleges and universities.

Democracy: votes at 16 for all. This is a fundamental right, but also supports citizenship, social inclusion and education on key social issues.

Transport: free bus passes for all young people up to 21 years old.

Mental health: mental health needs to be given parity to that of physical health. Diagnosis, support and care services must be funded, be available throughout Wales, including rural areas – and also available through Welsh if people wish.

Lee Woolls – Vapers in Power party 

I’d like to preface my response by stating that we are running as a vaping party and have only one official stance: To ensure that smokers are given access to the scientific information about vaping and not the biased and non-scientific misinformation given by politicians attempting celebrity. Our view is that vaping is a gateway away from tobacco and every party should have a policy regarding vaping and that vaping should not be confused with smoking.

In order to answer your questions I must do so from a purely personal view and emphasize that my responses are in no way a party view.

A curriculum which prepares us for life

A curriculum which is relevant to the real lives of school leavers is important, but so are the traditional subjects. "Life" changes so quickly, a curriculum to prepare for one would be out-of-date by the time a student left school. Schools should best prepare you to be resourceful, adaptable and open-minded.

It is likely that you will have many different jobs, it is likely you may have to start again, more than once. The most important thing a school can give you is confidence in knowing that you will be able to thrive whatever life throws at you - and that is less about curriculum than attitude.

High quality mental health services

Mental Health is something that affects 1 in 4 people, regardless of age or gender, annually. It is often not diagnosed as sufferers are unaware that they’re affected. A robust mental health service within the NHS is key but equally it is important that patients are aware of the symptoms and that services and centres that offer advice and assistance are easily found and signposted.

Tackling racism & religious discrimination

There is no place for discrimination of any form in our society, including gender, race, religion or sexual bias. I believe integration is key to solving many issues and that much of discrimination is fed through fear or poor education.

The Living Wage for all

My thoughts on this are very personal. As a businessman I would choose experience over qualifications every day of the week. With age comes experience and although we now employ many people under 25, this was not always the case. The lack of experience that a young person brings to a role is offset by a lower wage statutory requirement. This enables employers to make jobs available, where younger people can gain experience, where they may not otherwise have hired.

A reduced voting age to 16

At 16 you cannot buy alcohol, you cannot purchase tobacco or vaping products and you cannot buy fireworks. I think that if politics is included in a school environment at a younger age (10+) and that the responsibility of voting is understood, there should be no issue for 16 to be the minimum age for voting. 

Mark Drakeford – Labour

The Foundation Phase is a uniquely Welsh approach to early years’ education which aims to lay down a love of learning from the start of schooling. The Welsh Government has introduced the Welsh Baccalaureate in schools, aimed at providing Welsh students with added breadth to their learning and offers the skills which both employers and universities are looking for, including digital literacy. It offers students a chance to develop real life skills, and also prepare them for either Further or Higher Education should they wish to continue studying. The Welsh Baccalaureate has been welcomed by most Welsh institutions, with many making a formal statement in their prospectuses and on their websites. We will also provide 100,000 new apprenticeships in the next Assembly Term.

High quality mental health services for young people must begin with a social model of mental health. Growing up can be a challenging experience, but everyday stress and strains are not best served by specialist mental health services. Labour will continue to invest in improving the skills of mainstream services in education and the youth service, for example to respond positively to the needs of young people. Where mental illness itself is concerned, we invested an extra £7.65 million last year to create crisis mental health services for young people across Wales and to ensure that more young people with a serious mental health condition have these issues identified and addressed early, and treated here in Wales.

Welsh Labour has always been prepared to challenge racial, sexual and religious discrimination. We whole-heartedly support the 2010 Equality Act which aims to ensure that no person may be discriminated against because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/ civil partnership, pregnancy/ maternity, race, religion/belief or sex/ sexual orientation in the workplace. The Act covers goods, services and facilities, public functions, premises, work/ training, education, and political parties. We must do more, but our work in this area is a positive start. Welsh Labour produced a ‘twinning constituency’ policy for candidates, ensuring that Labour would field male and female candidates equally across Wales for the Assembly Elections, something which directly promotes the participation of more women in politics.

Welsh Labour has shown that it takes the Living Wage very seriously. The Welsh Labour Government introduced the Living Wage for NHS workers in 2014. This means that all NHS workers in Wales now earn at least the Living Wage. Showing our commitment to tackling low pay, we will also tackle zero-hour contracts in the social care field in the next Assembly. As a party, we are fully committed to upholding workers’ rights.

The Labour Party in Wales is committed to reducing the voting age to 16. We will use new powers then they are devolved from Westminster to introduce other reforms to the voting system, to make it easier for people of all ages to participate in our democracy. Labour is clear that young people should have the right to have a say in their futures.

Neil McEvoy – Plaid Cymru

A child born in Wales today will have less spent on its education than in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The child will have to wait longer for medical treatment. When the child grows up and goes to work, they will earn less than anywhere else in the UK.

It does not have to be this way.

On May 5th, we can all vote for positive change to live in Wales where we all have a place. Plaid believes that

16 year olds should have the right to vote in a proportional system, where the amount of Assembly Members elected reflects the size of your vote.

We want to create 50,000 apprenticeships as a bridge between education and quality employment. We want a debt write off scheme of up to £18,000 for students who choose to work in Wales.

We need to get Wales working and a simple way to create jobs is to ensure that Government contracts are awarded to Welsh companies. For every 1% more of government contract money spent in Wales, 2,000 jobs are created.

In South Wales Central Plaid is campaigning to save our green field sites. We want to change local development plans, so that we protect our woodland, fields and natural habitats. We vigorously oppose Labour’s plans to concrete most of the City’s green field sites; this is nothing short of environmental vandalism.

When I published Labour’s plans to concrete Cardiff in 2012, I was said to be lying. It was said by the Cardiff West Labour AM that my scaremongering was “disgraceful.” Time has shown that i was telling the truth all along.

Plaid has a vision of a green, clean Wales with open spaces and good quality housing for all, with a transport networks which allows us to travel without a problem.

The Welsh NHS is important to us all. We need to invest in health, so we can introduce a Cancer Contract. We want to offer a guarantee of diagnosis or all clear within 28 days and a guarantee of treatment with 45 days. WE propose to end the postcode lottery with an alternative treatment fund, so everyone can get the treatments they need. We will beat bed blocking by opening convalescent homes. We will abolish fees for elderly care and bring back dignity for those nearing the end of their lives.

Vote for a wealthier, healthier more educated country. We need change and Plaid is the change Wales needs.

Sean Driscoll – Conservatives 

A curriculum which prepares us for life.

We agree that learning life skills are an important part of education. Therefore, a Welsh Conservative Government will work with schools to focus on the importance of skills such as financial education and the study of home economics, helping students to prepare for life once they leave home. Furthermore, we would introduce emergency lifesaving skills and public health education into the curriculum.

High Quality Mental Health Services.

Mental health support for children and young people has long been ineffective in Wales. Many young people are left without any support at all, which has major repercussions. We also have concerns that, when transferring between services as children come into adulthood, young people often get lost in the system and lose out on essential support. Therefore, a Welsh Conservative Government would increase the capacity of mental health services for children and young people, so that they are fully supported throughout their treatment.

Tackling racism and religious discrimination.

Wales needs strong, resilient and harmonious communities that can respond effectively to the increasing pace and scale of economic, social and cultural change in the 21st Century. Therefore, Welsh Conservatives will adopt a zero tolerance policy to hate crimes and bullying. Furthermore, we will work with faith communities to support community cohesion and tackle extremism. This approach includes empowering local communities to tackle extremist ideologies and working with communities to reduce barriers to cohesion and integration.

The Living Wage for all.

The introduction of the National Living Wage and the increase in tax free personal allowance are essential parts of the UK Government’s plan to move towards a higher wage, lower tax, and lower welfare society and we support this aim. On extending this to people between the ages of 16-25, the Low Pay Commission has recommended that the National Minimum Wage is the highest possible level it can be without starting to cost young people their jobs. This is because unemployment is higher among those aged 16-24 compared with those who are 25 and over. Therefore, we could not support its extension at present.

A reduced voting age to 16.

In the run up to the 2015 General Election, a survey of 16-25 year olds and found that, if they were able to, 83% would have voted in the General Election. Clearly this shows a lot of young people are interested in politics and we should ensure that they continue to be engaged. Welsh Conservatives do not agree with reducing the voting age to 16, as we do not think that this alone will help increase political engagement. Instead, we want to introduce a Localism & Citizenship Bill, which would extend the duty of paying due regard to children’s rights to all public bodies. Furthermore, we would ensure that Ministers in the Welsh Assembly receive a 10% pay cut, and the money saved would be fund a National Children and Young People’s Assembly, which would involve young people more in the political process.

I hope this is of assistance and thank you again for taking the time to write to me.

What is Cardiff Youth Council? Cardiff Youth Council is the official network for young people aged 11-25. We advocate for positive change in Cardiff to make the city a better place to live, work and play.

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