|Andover's Phil North mentioned in Commons
24 May 2007
Sir George intervened during Education Questions in the House of Commons to praise 21 year old Phil North, recently elected to Test Valley Borough Council
4. Kitty Ussher (Burnley) (Lab): How the Government plan to improve the participation of young people in decisions about local facilities following the Green Paper “Youth Matters”. 
The Minister for Children and Families (Beverley Hughes): Legislation introduced in section 6 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 places new responsibilities on local authorities to secure young people’s access to positive activities. The legislation also requires that, in securing access to positive activities, local authorities involve young people in local decisions about what those activities should be. In addition, extra resources of £115 million have been made available through the youth opportunity and youth capital funds, and it is a condition that those funds are spent directly by young people on schemes run for young people.
Kitty Ussher: I welcome my right hon. Friend’s response. Does she share my admiration for the fact that Lancashire county council meets on a quarterly basis with the youth council to discuss all issues of policy relating to young people in the county? Is that something that she would like to see replicated in other parts of the country—and, indeed, nationally?
Beverley Hughes: I thank my hon. Friend for her question and for her general support for schemes for young people and their participation in them. A number of local authorities are establishing youth councils, as well as young mayors and youth cabinets, which is certainly one important way to involve young people in learning about the democratic process and decision making—and the limits on it—while also acquiring valuable and important experience around team work, co-operation, reliability and representation. Although this is not the only way of doing that, it is an important way, and I would certainly like local authorities to consider doing it more.
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): Is not the best way of improving the participation of young people in decisions about local facilities to encourage them to vote in and stand for local elections? Will she therefore commend Phil North in my constituency who, at the age of 21, stood for Test Valley borough council, defeated the leader of the Liberal Democrat group and is now ensuring that there is a strong voice for young people in the council chamber?
Beverley Hughes: I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it would be great to see more young people of that age as proper representatives in our local democracies. I am sure that, whatever party they represent, they will provide a strong voice for young people.