Liverpool teenager makes Parliament plea

Share Button
Ciara Brodie in the House of Commons. Pic © BBC News

Ciara Brodie in the House of Commons. Pic © BBC News

A Liverpudlian teenager made her mark in the House of Commons last week with speech on the Living Wage as part of the UK Youth Parliament.

In her passionate speech last Friday, Ciara Brodie, asked: “We are living in the sixth wealthiest country in the world but we cannot pay one in five working people an acceptable wage to live on. What is going on?”

The Living Wage is not a legally enforceable minimum level of pay, but is the amount calculated for workers to lead a normal standard of life and is being rolled out in parts of London. The Living Wage is currently set at £7.85 for jobs outside of London whereas the National Minimum Wage for people over 21 years old is £6.50.

Miss Brodie, 16, told JMU Journalism: “There is a myth that young people don’t care about politics or that it doesn’t concern us and that is not true. Yes, we may not be talking about politics all the time, but it is all around us. Look how many young people turned out to protest about higher tuition fees and the uproar that was created around the educational reform.

“Young people are straight to the point, we don’t cloud our opinions with petty party politics, we say things how they are. We are the decision makers of the future.”

After being elected as a member of Calderstones School Council in Allerton she automatically became a representative for the Liverpool Schools’ Parliament, an organisation aiming to make positive changes to the city.

The Make Your Mark ballot ran from 12 August and till 10 October asked young people across the country what issues mattered most to them, in order to determine what would be debated by the UK Youth Parliament. The issue of the Living Wage had the biggest outcome and response among topics such as voting at the younger age of 16 and the legalisation of euthanasia.

The UK Youth Parliament is running a year-long campaign to highlight to politicians that the Living Wage is a necessity for this generation and the next. It will aim to get businesses and local councils on board and encourage political parties to make it a promise in their manifestos.

Speaking about her time in the House of Commons, Brodie said: “Wow, it was surreal! The Speaker of the House of Commons was watching me just like he watches David Cameron speak. I was determined to enjoy it, but it is imperative that young people are represented and are able to influence the decisions where they are directly being affected.”

About Katie Dodson, JMU Journalism