I am co-ordinating the Government response to the Youth Citizenship Commission. I have been impressed by the breadth of commitment of all Government Departments in engaging young people as active citizens in their communities and as they go through the transition to adulthood. I expect to publish my findings in response to the YCC in February, when I shall report on the significant amount of Government initiatives on delivery for young people.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. As she knows, the UK Youth Parliament is absolutely key to delivering on the proposals outlined by the YCC. Will she press the House authorities to provide core funding for the UK Youth Parliament to secure its future, so that it can deliver on those proposals?
I would like to congratulate my hon. Friend on all her work for the all-party parliamentary group on youth affairs. She does an excellent job. The UK Youth Parliament is a real success story: my hon. Friend will know that it held a great debate here in the House, and one of its key priorities is to lower the voting age to 16. She makes a valuable point, and I will indeed press the House authorities to try to ensure that we get some core funding for the UKYP.
We are all very keen to get more young people involved in the electoral process, and to ensure that they vote and participate. An election is near, so what more can the Government do to fulfil the commission’s recommendation that eligible pupils should be encouraged to register via school to make sure that they participate when it comes?
The hon. Gentleman makes another valuable point. We do not need any changes in law to ensure that young people are registered in schools, colleges and universities. We need to encourage those institutions to make sure that young people are encouraged to sign on and be registered to vote when they reach 17, so that we have the maximum number participating in the next election.