Let young people question Prime Minister on Covid-19 response, says Labour


The Labour Party has called on the government to give young people the chance to question the Prime Minister over the coronavirus crisis.

Cat Smith has called on the government to listen to the youth sector. Picture: Parliament UK
Cat Smith has called on the government to listen to the youth sector. Picture: Parliament UK

Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and young people has written to Boris Johnson urging him to better engage with young people and support them during the pandemic

Smith says that young people have been “overlooked” throughout the government’s crisis response and highlights the negative impact the pandemic has already had on their mental health and employment prospects.

A recent report from the Prince’s Trust shows that four in 10 young people are struggling with increased feelings of anxiety caused by Covid-19.

Some 69 per cent of more than 1,000 16- to 25-year-olds asked say they feel like their life is “on hold”.

Young people's mental health is particularly affected by the impact the pandemic is having on their education, training or career, the report states.

Labour has asked that as an “absolute minimum” the Prime Minister should meet the youth sector’s call for a dedicated press conference for young people.

It has also called on the government to allow under-18s to submit questions to the daily press conferences. 

Smith said: “The government’s slow response to the coronavirus crisis has overlooked the concerns and circumstances of young people.

“Young people are set to be hugely disadvantaged by coronavirus for decades to come.

“We know that one million young people are now facing unemployment as a result of this crisis, and mounting evidence from across the youth sector demonstrates the negative impact this is having upon young people’s mental health.

“Yet none of the government’s support packages have included young people.

“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that young people’s voices are heard and their issues taken seriously.”

Earlier in the pandemic, the Prime Ministers of Norway and New Zealand were widely praised for holding special children-only press conferences to talk about issues related to the crisis.

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