As Mayor, I promise to share my power with young people, so that we can work together on real investment in the future.
That’s why I will create new powers for the London Youth Assembly if elected Mayor of London.
The London Youth Assembly currently brings together young people from across the capital to discuss issues affecting young people, and it held its inaugural meeting in November 2018.
The Assembly is made up of young people aged from 11-19 (or up to 25 years old for disabled people) and each member represents their borough. The current Chair is a Year 9 student.
I will give this body new resources and scrutiny powers, including the ability to propose a formal amendment for the annual budget, so that young Londoners have a real voice and real influence inside City Hall.
The changes I will make include:
- Nominations for the Youth Assembly will continue to happen through local borough democratic processes, but with six additional members (representative of London’s young people), to allow for new nominations from students at London Colleges and Universities, raising the age limit for these members to 21
- There will be a number of Youth Assembly Mayor’s Question Time (MQT) sessions every year with the Mayor.
- The Youth Assembly will also be able to submit written Mayor’s Questions using the same system as Assembly Members, with the Mayor required to answer. These questions and answers will be published on the GLA website.
- The Youth Assembly will be resourced to hold proper scrutiny meetings similar to an Assembly Committee, in order to investigate issues, make recommendations, and write reports. The London Assembly would support them through their powers of summons, making sure the Mayor’s team, and representatives of other bodies over which the Assembly has summons powers, attend to be held to account by young people.
- Resources and secretariat staff will be made available to better promote the Youth Assembly, particularly to students currently underrepresented and to forge better connections between members and schools, universities and youth organisations across London, enabling young Londoners across the city to feed into its work.
- The Youth Assembly will also be able to propose a budget amendment, sponsored by the Assembly and put to the vote during the annual budget meetings.
- Youth Assembly members would not be full time as almost all of them would be in education or training, but they will be remunerated for the time required to do their work, at the London Living Wage. No-one should be deterred from taking part in the Assembly because they need to do part-time work outside of school and college.
I have long championed investment in young people as an Assembly Member, reporting every year on the cuts to youth services. In March I looked at the impact of lockdown on youth work and revealed that, in the coming financial year, at least a further £2 million of budget cuts is proposed.
I believe that, by having young people propose budget amendments to fill gaps in funding, more attention will be focused on their issues and more funding found for youth services and the wide range of issues our young citizens care about.
Young people have shown more political leadership than most politicians in recent years, they deserve a real say in their future. From the school children demanding action on climate, to students calling for change on campuses – young people are already transforming politics for the better and those of us with power have a duty to share that with them.