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Torfaen’s Assembly Member, Lynne Neagle, has used a debate in the Assembly to support a “no-brainer” call for a Youth Parliament for Wales – a call that has been met with cross-party support in the Assembly.
Ms Neagle led the calls by asking a question to the Assembly Commission prior to the debate in the Senedd.
The Torfaen AM, who has been a long-standing advocate for the Valleys and the most deprived areas in Wales, also called for a Youth Parliament that would also address the needs of the most disadvantaged young people.
The AM and Chair of the Children and Young People Committee, spoke in the debate in the Senedd fully supporting the calls.
Lynne Neagle AM said:
“I genuinely believe the need for a Youth Parliament is a complete no-brainer.”
“I was disappointed, in 2014, when the decision was taken by Welsh Government to cease funding for Funky Dragon…I am absolutely delighted that the Assembly Commission is taking forward this initiative.”
“I think there is always a risk that such parliaments are more prone to engaging the more articulate, confident young people—and I celebrate the fact that we have these young people in Wales—but the test of a genuinely representative parliament will be how effectively it ensures we hear the voices of some of those young people who do not usually get their voices heard.”
“I hope that any youth parliament will ensure that those are the kinds of voices we also make sure are heard—a youth parliament that addresses the needs of the most disadvantaged young people will be one we can all be very proud of in Wales.”
Responding to the debate, the Presiding Officer said:
“The Assembly Commission has endorsed this ambition as part of the new strategy.”
“I’ve also discussed this issue with the children’s commissioner, Sally Holland, and found that we share common ground and the same ambitions on this issue.”
“I have written to the Campaign for the Children and Young People’s Assembly for Wales’s trustees in advance of their meeting on 23 October, signalling our commitment to taking this matter forward as a Commission. Of course, I will be respectful of their consultation and I look forward to receiving their final recommendations on a youth parliament before Christmas.”