Ten years ago on 29th March 2011 in the House of Commons Iain Wright who was the shadow education Minister asked Tim Loughton who was the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Education a question related to the UK Youth Parliament funding. At that time the MPs in Parliament were being paid £65,738 a year. A few weeks ago Liam Byrne who is a Labour MP asked a similar question and it was answered on 31st March 2021 by Matt Warman who is the Parliamentary Under Secretary for DCMS. Since 2011 then there have been a number of increases in pay for MPs and their current pay level is £81,932 which is an increase of 24.6% from the situation 10 years ago. As we can see below, the answer from Matt Warman was a lot more vague in response to the question than the answer from Tim Loughton. So just to be clear the sum that Tim Loughton referred to as the sum set out for the UK Youth Parliament in 2011/12 was £335,000. If the Youth Parliament had received a similar increase to the funding increase for MPs they would be receiving £417,000 this year. Sadly although Matt Warman chose not to mention the sum involved, this article in Children and Young People Now explains very clearly that the sum that has been set out for this year is £233,000 which is a 30% reduction compared to 2011 and nearly a 50% reduction compared to what the sum would be if the Youth Parliament funds were matching the MP payment increases over the same period. If the MP payments were set out with the same approach as the Youth Parliament funding MPs would now be being paid £45,359.
Last night I set out a petition which now needs to be approved by the Parliamentary Committee. However assuming that both of those elements get followed through, the petition which is very simple calls for the following
Increase the funding for the 2021/22 UK Youth Parliament (UKYP)
The 2011/12 UKYP was funded £335,000 by the Government in order to continue its key functions and to sustain its independence and distinct identity. This Government is offering £233,000 to the 2021/22 UKYP which is a 30% reduction over 10 years which is deeply concerning and needs to be reversed.
To sign the draft petition go here although be aware that only 25 people can sign it until they decide whether to approve it or reject it. So for the moment back to the questions and answers from ten years ago and a few weeks ago. First is this one from March 2011.
IW: how much his Department provided to the UK Youth Parliament in (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11; how much it plans to make available to the UK Youth Parliament in (i) 2011-12 and (ii) 2012-13; what further plans he has for funding allocations to arrangements for the UK Youth Parliament; and if he will make a statement.
TL: In 2009-10 and 2010-11 grants of £350,000 and £500,000 respectively were provided to support UK Youth Parliament activities from the Department’s Children, Young People and Families Grant.
The Government will provide continuing support into 2011-12 to the UK Youth Parliament. Following a limited competitive bidding exercise the Department for Education proposes to award a grant of £335,000 to the British Youth Council to continue the UK Youth Parliament’s key functions and sustain its independence and distinct identity for six months from April 2011. This will secure continued support for the work of the 600 young people who are Members of the Youth Parliament or their Deputies. In the meantime, a short-term grant of £65,000 will be offered to the current host charity for the UK Youth Parliament, Democracy for Young People Ltd, to enable it to deliver a smooth transition. The Government are considering what arrangements would be appropriate to sustain the UK Youth Parliament in the longer term. I am pleased that the Speaker of the House of Commons has confirmed continuing support for the UK Youth Parliament in 2011-12 including for the annual debate in the Commons chamber.
Giving young people a voice in public decisions which affect them is a key principle underpinning the Government’s youth policy. Members of the UK Youth Parliament make a valuable contribution to making the voices of young people heard within formal democratic processes and these measures will ensure that their work can continue.
And then there is this one which is from a few weeks ago.
LB: To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reasons the funding for the UK Youth Parliament has been reduced; and if he will make a statement.
MW: HM Government’s core funding for the UK Youth Parliament in 21/22 remains at the same level as the previous two years. Additional funding has been made available in 21/22 to continue enabling UK-wide participation in this programme.