Youth Select Committee

This body gives young people the opportunity to scrutinise public issues and hold inquiries into topics most relevant to them.

Youth Select Committee

This year's Youth Select Committee report is now complete - view it here.

Votes at 16

This year the Youth Select Committee embarked on an inquiry focusing on the topic of Votes at 16, identified as a priority and voted for by the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons in November 2013.

The Youth Select Committee was launched by the British Youth Council (BYC) and is supported by the House of Commons. It mirrors the UK Parliament Select Committee structure and gives young people the chance to scrutinise issues and hold inquiries on public matters they find important.

The committee is made up of 11 young people aged 14-18 and includes both elected and reserved seats to ensure a broad representation of interests from all parts of the UK.

The Youth Select Committee received induction training and mentoring from Parliamentary Clerks and British Youth Council staff.

The committee looked at the following issues as part of its inquiry:

  • Should the age at which people are allowed to vote be lowered? Why/why not? If yes, to what age?
  • For what reasons is the voting age currently set at 18? What qualities mean that a person is ready to vote? Do 16 and 17-year-olds possess these qualities?
  • Should the age at which people are able to vote vary between types of election? For example, should the voting age be different for local and General elections?
  • What short term and long term effect would lowering the voting age have on voter turnout? Should the likely turnout of 16 and 17-year-old voters affect the decision on whether to lower the voting age?
  • What can be learned from countries where the voting age is lower than 18 or where lowering the voting age has been proposed?
  • What was the motivation for allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the referendum on independence for Scotland? What can be learned from this example?
  • What would the practical implications of lowering the voting age be?
  • How effectively does citizenship education prepare young people to vote? How could it be used to prepare young people to vote?
  • What is the best way to engage young people with the political process?

All submitted written evidence is published on the British Youth Council website.

Watch the evidence sessions

Download transcripts of oral evidence sessions

For any inquiry-related questions, please contact the inquiry team on bycyouthselect@parliament.uk.