‘Bring the voting age down to 16’

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Young people are not being heard in politics and the voting age should be lowered to 16.

That was the message to Kirklees Council bosses who asked people for ideas on how participation in democracy could be improved.

A draft report which contains 48 proposals said: “Our young citizens told us that they feel invisible in local politics.

“They want more of a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. In light of our evidence as a whole, we recommend that government should legislate to lower the voting age to 16.”

The report, titled Growing a Stronger Local Democracy, was debated by Kirklees Councillors and members of Kirklees Youth Council at Huddersfield Town Hall last night.

Among the recommendations is a “young councillors apprenticeship scheme” to be piloted in Kirklees with help from the Local Government Association.

The report suggests an audit of online services which would give councillors details of all the social media networks and places to connect to the internet in their wards.

The report said: “Digital literacy should be a core expectation of the councillor role.”

It should also be easier to find out what your councillor has been up to, the report suggests.

It said: “Kirklees Council should make performance evidence about what councillors do available to the public in an easy-to-digest format.”

The report also suggests quarterly “question time” events with the leaders of local political parties.

It was drawn up by the Kirklees Democracy Commission, set up last summer and chaired by Dr Andrew Mycock, a politics expert at the University of Huddersfield.

The final version of the report will be published next month.