Government vows to consult with youth groups over Brexit

By Nina Jacobs

| 27 July 2017

The government has pledged to engage with youth groups and said that their voice will be heard in its negotiations on the UK leaving the European Union.

The government has said it is vital that the interests of children are heard in Brexit negotiations. Picture: Jane Campbell/Shutterstock.com

The announcement follows a parliamentary question tabled by former children's minister Tim Loughton, who asked which policy areas relevant to vulnerable children and young people are under consideration in the negotiations on the UK leaving the EU.

Steven Baker, minister for exiting the EU, said the government is considering the effect that exiting the EU will have on vulnerable children and young people across a wide range of issues. 

"It is vital that these interests are heard as we enter the negotiations," he said.

"Officials from the Department for Exiting the European Union have already engaged with child and youth advocacy groups and will continue to do so in the coming weeks and months as part of our strategy to ensure that a wide range of stakeholder perspectives are factored into our approach to exit."

He added that the Repeal Bill will ensure that existing rights and freedoms will be brought into UK law including the rights of vulnerable children and young people.

Earlier this year the British Youth Council (BYC) called on the government to ensure young people were given an active part to play in Brexit negotiations.

Its manifesto, published before the general election, stated that young people should be "meaningfully engaged" in the Brexit negotiations given the impact leaving the EU would have on their futures.

Earlier this month children's commissioner Anne Longfield called on EU negotiators to prioritise children during negotiations.

She warned that a failure to do so would risk turning children into "bargaining chips" and leaving them in limbo when they were already anxious about their future.

Recent research by the BYC found that young people are worried about their future in post-Brexit Britain, with the majority saying they felt part of Europe.

Of those surveyed by the BYC, 62 per cent said they felt part of Europe, rising to 72 per cent among those in higher education.

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