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New Lords will cost £1.2m per year, say experts

27th August 2015
27 Aug 2015
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house of lords

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Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement appointing 45 new Peers to the House of Lords, Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“At a time when the government is talking about reducing the cost of politics, this announcement is an expensive insult to the public. These new appointments will cost at least £1.2m per year [1], and that’s before increased operating costs are taken into account.

“Today’s further expansion of the Lords – part of the constant arms race to pack the chamber with loyalists, whichever party is in power – shows the system is well and truly bust. The rapid growth in size and cost of our ‘upper chamber’ is a national scandal, and the sooner we sort out this mess the better.

“The Prime Minister says he regrets not reforming the chamber in the last Parliament, and given the escalating cost of the Lords it’s something the Chancellor may be beginning to regret too. So instead of more partisan packing of the Lords, now is the time to do the right thing and get on with the vital work of ensuring we have a democratic upper House, where the public finally get a say.”

For more information and quotes, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, contact Doug Cowan on 07955 148 873, and doug.cowan@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] ERS analysis of House of Lords accounts http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldresource/24/24.pdf

Read our latest report on the House of Lords, ‘Fact vs Fiction’ here: http://electoral-reform.org.uk/blog/its-official-house-lords-completely-...
 

New research casts light on ‘out of control’ House of Lords

16th August 2015
16 Aug 2015

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Statement from the Electoral Reform Society 
Embargoed: 00:01, Sunday 16th August 2015  
For the full report [1] and a briefing with all the report’s findings, see the notes section [2 
 
For more quotes, information or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk, 07717211630  
 
The Electoral Reform Society has released a major new report on the House of Lords today (16th August) - the first piece of research on Britain’s upper chamber since the General Election. 
 
The report, launched in the Sunday Times and entitled ‘House of Lords: Fact vs Fiction’, sheds new light on Britain’s second House following a tumultuous month for the unelected chamber, laying bare the facts on cost, size, independence, and representativeness of the Lords.   
 
The exclusive research focuses on five key points: 
  • The cost of the Lords – In the 2010-2015 parliament, £360,000 was claimed by Peers in years they failed to vote once - ten Lords were responsible for £236,000 of this. In the last Parliamentary session alone, over £100,000 was claimed by Peers who did not vote at all. At the same time, Cameron’s plans for an additional 50 Peers will cost at least £1.3m per year.  
  • Independence - In the 2014-15 session nearly half (45%) of all Crossbenchers participated in 10 or fewer votes - compared to an average of just 8% of party political Peers, while a quarter of appointments to the House of Lords between 1997 and 2015 were former MPs.  
  • Professional politicians – Over a third of Lords (34%) previously worked in politics. Just 1% come from manual backgrounds. 
  • A supersized House to rebalance the upper chamber strictly in line with the 2015 General Election results would require the appointment of an additional 723 members. 
  • Out of date - 44% of Lords list their main addresses in London and the South East, while 54% are 70 or older.  
Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:  
 
“This research completely busts the myths peddled by supporters of an unreformed House of Lords. ‘Fact vs Fiction’ shows conclusively that the House of Lords is growing out of control, with the government set on appointing hundreds more Peers at a cost of millions.  
 
“We have shown that far from being a bastion of independence, non-partisan Crossbench Peers turn up far less frequently than party-political Peers. And it’s those Peers who vote as a bloc, with Labour voting against the last coalition government, Conservative Peers voting against the last Labour government nearly 100% of the time.  
 
“On top of that, we have found that over a third of Lords previously worked in politics – compared to less than 1% of the British public. This is not a chamber of experts – it’s a chamber of professional politicians. Our House of Lords looks nothing like the public whose decisions it impacts – almost half live in London or the South East, while there are just two Peers under the age of 40. This is a shockingly out of date and unrepresentative institution.  
 
“The Prime Minister said he ‘regrets’ not reforming the second House in the last Parliament. It’s time for him to act – and finally fix our broken upper chamber.” 
 
For more quotes, information or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk, 07717211630  
 

 

“The House of Lords needs more than tinkering – it needs real reform”, say campaigners

3rd August 2015
3 Aug 2015

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  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 03/08/2015, 14:00
  • For further comment or information, or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk
  • ERS will publish major report on the House of Lords in two weeks

The Electoral Reform Society have today responded to proposals from Lord Bew [1] and Lord Solely [2] on reforming of the House of Lords, describing them as ‘tinkering around the edges’ when a ‘major overhaul’ is needed.

Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“We’ve seen some well-motivated suggestions for change in the Lords over the past few days. But despite overwhelming public backing for a serious clean-up of the chamber, most of the suggestions barely scratch the surface in addressing the real need for democratic reform.

Lord Bew’s call [1] for over 75s to be stripped of their £300-a-day allowance in the Lords misses the point. Ending the practice of Peers turning up and doing no work is crucial, but this isn’t an issue of age – it’s an issue of accountability.

“The same goes for Lord Soley’s call [2] for Lords to be immediately kicked out if they generate bad headlines – an arbitrary and even less democratic process than the one at present.

There is simply no democratic scrutiny of our unelected upper chamber – and introducing age limits wouldn’t stop those under 75 turning up and doing nothing. Holding them to account at the ballot box, however, would, alongside a proper system of checking in and checking out.

“Not only that, but these Peers’ timid proposals would also do next to nothing to reduce the size of our bloated second House – bursting at the seams with nearly 800 voting members in what is already the second largest chamber in the world (after China), and the only legislature in Europe that’s fully unelected.

The House of Lords needs a major overhaul, not tinkering around the edges. We need an elected upper chamber where the people who vote on our laws are elected by the public. Playing around the edges will do little to restore confidence in the broken and out-of-date chamber that the Lords clearly is.

We need a constitutional convention, led by citizens, to have a real public debate about how to reform our second chamber now – including looking at where it should sit, as Kezia Dugdale MSP does today [3].

“Our constitution has been changed piece-meal for too long – now citizens need a chance to be involved in the conversation as we head towards the crucial process of fixing our broken upper house.

What we really need is a slimmed-down, fully-elected second chamber where the people who vote on our laws are elected by the people those laws affect. Who votes on our laws shouldn’t be down to patronage towards party donors and ex-MPs.”

For further comment or information, or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

ENDS

NOTES

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11778464/I-fear-that-politicians-may-never-regain-the-trust-of-the-public-says-Lord-Bew.html

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33749931

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/02/house-of-lords-second-chamber-glasgow-commons

For more information or to discuss receiving an advance copy of the ERS’ upcoming report on the House of Lords, contact Josiah Mortimer (details above).

Prime Minister’s plans to pack the Lords would cost millions, new research shows

29th July 2015
29 Jul 2015

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  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 29/07/2015, 12:30
  • For further comment or information, or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

The Electoral Reform Society today release new figures which show how out of control the House of Lords has become in terms of its size and cost – less than a day after the Prime Minister appeared to rule out reform of the upper chamber [1].

The House of Lords is growing in size with each new government - and it shows no sign of slowing down despite scandal after scandal, the Society shows in the new research.

The research released today shows:  

· The Prime Minister’s plans to appoint 50 more Peers over the summer [2] would cost at least £1.3m, while an additional 100 peers - a prospect very much on the table - would cost at least £2.6m in expenses and allowances.

· To ‘rebalance’ the upper chamber strictly in line with the 2015 General Election results - without kicking out Peers en masse or moving to a fully elected chamber - would require an additional 704 Peers, bringing the number of unelected Peers to 1490. Unelected lawmakers would outnumber our elected MPs by more than two to one. A 'rebalanced' Lords on the basis of the May 7th result could cost at least £18m.

· According to the House of Lords Resource Accounts analysed by the ERS, the net operating costs of the House of Lords in 2013-4 was £93.1m, approximately equivalent to £118k per peer.

· During the period spanning February 2014 to January 2015 £21,424,729 was spent on Lords allowances and expenses, with the average peer receiving £25,826. 

These figures are likely to be much higher when additional operating costs are added, with the Lords already stretched to breaking point. 

The research comes ahead of a major report by the Society due to be released in August.

Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

"Our unelected House of Lords is growing out of control, and shows no sign of slowing down. Indeed, this government is set to appoint dozens more Peers over the summer - despite repeated scandals - going back many years - and calls from the public to have a leaner and more democratic chamber. These latest figures only serve to reinforce the need for a radical rethink about our second chamber, which is getting bigger and more expensive by the day. 

"That unaccountable Peers could outnumber elected MPs by two to one if calls for even more appointments are listened to is a shocking state of affairs, and one which must be challenged.  

"Each Lord costs the tax-payer nearly £120k a year. It can't be right that when politicians are talking about reducing the cost of politics, they're set to stuff the upper chamber with yet more party appointees.  

"Too many peers have worked in politics before or are party donors. And it's no surprise that there are always more lining up waiting to join the club.  It can't be allowed to spiral further out of control." 

"We urgently need to sort out the House of Lords and move to a fully-elected chamber where the people who make our laws are elected by the public - and can be kicked out by the public. 

"The latest affair only goes to show that our democracy shouldn't be left to the discretion of unelected Peers but should be in the hands of voters."  

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s response to questions over the need for reform yesterday, Darren Hughes added:

 “The Prime Minister’s comments, writing off reform of the Lords and suggesting that dozens more appointments could be on the way, simply beggar belief. The House of Lords is already the second biggest chamber in the world – after China’s upper house – and the only completely unelected upper House in Europe. For the PM to consider adding even more party cronies after yet another round of controversy is frankly shocking.  

 “It is staggering that the Prime Minister regrets he didn’t reform the Lords in the last Parliament yet says he won’t do it now. These are the kind of cosy and convenient arguments which protect the Westminster club. The public are tired of inaction on this issue, and the PM should lead on this, not cop out. If Mr Cameron gives up on this, we’ll have years more of cronies, donors and party hacks stuffing our oversized, expensive and unelected House. 

“The government has a Parliamentary majority – if Mr Cameron wants reform of the Lords, he can do it. Now is the time to stop skirting around the issue and to use the majority in the House in favour of reform to secure a democratically-elected upper chamber. Almost every opposition MP backs an elected upper chamber – not to mention the vast majority of the public who are sick of party hacks and donors being sent to claim their £300 a day.  

“It’s clear that our unaccountable upper chamber needs cleaning up. Instead of regretting a lack of reform in the last Parliament, the Prime Minister should seize the opportunity and do it now.”  

For further comment or information, or to arrange an interview, contact Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer, on 07717211630 or josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

ENDS

NOTES

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/28/david-cameron-to-appoint-more-tory-peers-to-the-house-of-lords

[2] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/lord-sewel-quits-house-lords-6155389

For more information or to discuss receiving an advance copy of the ERS’ upcoming report on the House of Lords, contact Josiah Mortimer (details above).

Only an elected upper house can truly hold Peers to account, says ERS

27th July 2015
27 Jul 2015

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For immediate release - statement from the Electoral Reform Society
 
Contact Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer, on josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk or 07717211630 for further quotes, comment or information
 
Commenting on the latest scandal in the House of Lords, Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:
 
“Every year there are stories like this about our upper House, and every time the need for reform becomes more pressing. 
 
“The idea that Peers can totally lose the confidence of the public and never be held to account is bewildering to most people. But we can only get real accountability through an elected chamber – not through the cosy arrangements that exist at the moment. 
 
“The main problem here – as always with our unelected House of Lords – is that the public are excluded. The voters should have the final say in deciding who makes our laws.
 
“Clearly the set-up we have for the House of Lords is unsustainable – it’s too big, costs too much and its arcane rules leave the public in disbelief.
 
“All this points to the need an elected upper chamber, where the people who decide on Britain’s laws are elected by the people they affect.” 

16 year-old leads first major rally for fairer voting system

23rd July 2015
23 Jul 2015

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  • Press release - embargoed for 00:01 24th July
  • Statement from the Voting Reform Coalition
  • For further quotes, comment or to arrange an interview, email Emily.Randall@unlockdemocracy.org.uk or call 07834185266

Hundreds of campaigners including Peter Tatchell, Lib Dem MP Tom Brake and prospective Green mayoral candidate Sian Berry will rally outside Parliament this Saturday to demand politicians fix the UK’s ‘broken voting system’.

The rally, organised by 16 year old student and Member of Youth Parliament Owen Winter, alongside other campaigners, will demand a proportional voting system where seats match votes.

The event follows the most disproportionate election in British history on May 7th. Over a thousand people have already registered to attend the ‘Great Gathering for Voting Reform’ at Old Palace Yard from 1pm on the 25th July.  

The campaigners aim to highlight the ‘bizarre results’ caused by First-Past-The-Post in this year’s General Election by participating in a creative stunt, alongside speeches and discussion outside Parliament.

Speaking at the event will be long-standing pro-democracy activist Peter Tatchell, prospective Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry, the Liberal Democrat’s Tom Brake MP, UKIP’s Jonathan Arnott MEP, Owen Winter MYP, the 16 year-old Member of Youth Parliament who kick-started the campaign, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society Darren Hughes, Labour activist George Aylett and Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy.

Before the General Election, Owen Winter, a 16 year old from Cornwall, created a petition on the website change.org calling for electoral reform [1].

Organiser Owen Winter MYP said: “The general election result in no way reflected what voters really wanted. We want to ensure that everyone’s votes count in the future under a different system. First-Past-The-Post is broken, and our political leaders need to realise this before our democracy is permanently fractured.

“This rally will be the first major gathering calling for voting reform since the General Election. People want their voices to be heard - they want a fair voting system, and the issue of our broken electoral system is not going away. This event will be the start of a major campaign to make sure seats match votes in 2020.

Pro-democracy campaigner Peter Tatchell said: "The Chartists and Suffragettes fought for a representative parliament that reflects the spectrum of public opinion. We don't have that. The government has a majority of seats based on 37% of the vote. UKIP and the Greens won five million votes but only one MP each. The SNP secured 56 out of 59 Scottish seats, despite winning only half the popular vote. Democracy is meaningless without a fair voting system.

"I'm proud to join the Great Gathering for Voting Reform. Fair votes are vital for democracy and to help restore public engagement with, and confidence in, the political system."

Prospective Green Party Mayoral candidate Sian Berry said: “The age of the two-party system is over. Fresh new parties like the Greens have broken through and are re-energising politics on the ground, reflected in our increased vote but not in more representation. Our broken electoral system must now catch up with the people. I’m pleased to be joining together with campaigners today to call for a new voting system and a much greater variety of voices in Parliament.”

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said: "The 2015 General Election was the least proportional in British history.  Yet millions live in seats which haven't changed hands for a generation - in such circumstances, who can blame people who feel their vote doesn't matter?  I believe it's time for us to stand together to demand change from our government, for a modern system meeting the needs of a multi-party 21st-century democracy."

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said: “I believe that Britain’s electoral system should deliver maximum power to the voter, no more wasted votes, and a representative body that proportionately reflects the opinions of the electorate. It is fantastic to join the Great Gathering for Voter Reform and campaign on such an important issue.”

Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, said: “Millions of people were let down by our broken electoral system in May. I'm delighted to be joining with so many people at the Great Gathering to demand a fairer voting system. 2015 must be the last election where the seats don’t match the votes.

This unfairness is repeated across the country at local elections. In England and Wales, local elections are lumbered with a voting system that encourages uncontested seats, low turnouts and fails to represent the diversity of our communities. I will be calling on people today to pledge to improve democracy in their communities as well as at Westminster.”

Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “May’s election was yet another sign that our voting system is bust, with seats failing to match how people voted. We urgently need a national debate about how we elect our MPs, and now is the perfect time for a citizen-led proposals as politicians go into recess.

“We can’t afford to go into the 2020 election under the same out-dated system, where people’s votes fail to be reflected in Parliament. It’s time for reform, and this gathering is central to building that case. After the most disproportionate election result in British history, the issue is not going away.”

Labour campaigner George Aylett said: “The event follows the May election result where the Conservatives achieved a majority government despite only gaining 36.9% of the vote, whilst for their four million votes, UKIP secured just one seat in the House of Commons.

“At the same time, the Scottish National Party gained just over half of the popular Scottish vote, but won 56 out of the 59 seats in Scotland, and the Greens received only one seat for their million votes.”

The Great Gathering will be starting at 1pm at Old Palace Yard, Westminster. Journalists are invited to attend.

For further quotes, comment or to arrange an interview, email Emily.Randall@unlockdemocracy.org.uk or call 07834185266

ENDS   

Notes

[1] Thousands of people signed Owen’s petition- after Unlock Democracy and the ERS initiated their own petitions, nearly half a million people called for electoral reform. The petitions were collated and presented to the government in May- the leaders of UKIP and the Green Party, Nigel Farage and Natalie Bennett, were the headliners in a political delegation including MPs from the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.

Owen’s petition also inspired the creation of the Voting Reform Team: comprising 4,000 individuals from all walks of life, the VRT have combined to organise an event which they hope will motivate people to push for electoral reform.    

The Facebook event for the Great Gathering for Voting Reform is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1407096636284737/

Government must not backtrack on Lords’ Votes at 16 success

16th July 2015
16 Jul 2015

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Commenting on the House of Lords voting 221-154 in favour of allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote in local elections [1], Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“This Lords vote is a big step forward for the campaign for votes at 16. That Peers voted by a majority of 67 to support a fairer franchise – in a House where the average age is 70 – is clearly a sign of how far this debate has come, and how strong backing is for these young people to get a say.

“16 and 17 year olds proved that they care about politics in the Scottish referendum, with 75% voting and 97% saying they would do so in the future. They accessed more information than any other age group, and registered in their thousands. And after the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed Votes at 16 last month, now young Scots will get a chance to vote in almost all elections there.

“At the same time, Wales is set to lower the voting age next year after the power is devolved in the upcoming Wales Bill. The largest ever consultation on the issue in Wales showed yesterday [2] that 53% (to 29%) of young people in Wales back the move. It’s time that this right was extended across the rest of the UK.

“It would be insulting to the 1.5 million 16 and 17 year olds across the UK for the government to reverse this decision when the Bill returns to the Commons after the summer. The first generation to receive citizenship education want a voice in politics, and the government should support that.

“David Cameron said during the election he wanted a debate on the issue. Now is the time for the Conservative Party to embrace this reform, and to give our educated school-leavers a say in the issues which affect them.

“Let’s not allow this to become another wedge between the countries of the UK. Britain can lead the way on this - and bring our nations’ young people together.

“With Wales and Scotland set to get votes at 16, it’s time for a ‘one nation’ franchise – where all young people have an equal voice in our democracy.

ENDS

For further quotes, comment or to arrange an interview, contact: Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer - 07717211630, josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

Notes

[1] As part of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill – see the full debate in the House of Lords on Amendment 73 here (scroll to column 636 for the division): http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldhansrd/text/150715-0002.htm#15071552001140

[2] http://www.yourassembly.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Vote@16-REPORT-E-small.pdf

Rushing through shift to individual voter registration is 'worrying move' say experts

16th July 2015
16 Jul 2015

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For further quotes or comment, contact josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk or call 07717211630

Commenting on the Minister for Constitutional Reform John Penrose's statement to the House of Commons today on the shift to Individual Electoral Registration [1], Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“The government’s decision today to hurry the shift to individual registration – against the advice of the Electoral Commission - is a worrying move indeed.

“There are nearly two million people left on the old register who are at risk of being completely excluded if the government refuses to give enough time to transfer to the new register. Private renters and young people (who move around most) could be most at  risk.

“Holes in the register of this scale are not good news for the boundary-drawing exercise, especially when the completeness of the register is such an important issue.”

“We are not convinced there is enough time and money and for these two million people to be moved over to the new register before the end of the year. This could result in people losing their say – a real travesty for democracy, particularly in the run up to several major elections in May next year.

“Above all though, we need a registration revolution in this country, not tinkering around the edges. Registering should be as easy as voting itself. Lots of countries have innovative ways to register - and there’s no reason we can’t either.”

[1] http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/July%202015/16%20July/1-CO-Individual.pdf

For further quotes or comment, contact josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk or call 07717211630

Votes at 16 could ‘transform politics for a generation of young people in Wales’

15th July 2015
15 Jul 2015

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  • Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru welcomes Welsh Assembly Commission report showing strong support among young people for votes at 16 in Wales
  • Society urges Welsh Government to use new powers to implement votes at 16 alongside  new programme of political education in schools

15/07/2015 – Statement from ERS Cymru for IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Owain ap Gareth, ERS Cymru Campaigns & Research Officer (owain.apgareth@electoral-reform.org.uk – 07771661802) or Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer (Josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk – 07717211630)

The Electoral Reform Society Cymru today welcomed the findings of the Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly, Dame Rosemary Butler AM’s six month consultation on votes for 16 and 17 year olds with young people in Wales. The survey shows strong support among Welsh youth to get a say in who represents them in the National Assembly.

With over 10,000 young people consulted, the results show 53% of young respondents in favour of votes at 16; 29% against; with 18% stating ‘don’t know’.

Dr Owain ap Gareth, Campaign and Research Officer at ERS Cymru said:

“This is the most comprehensive survey of young people we have had in Wales, so it’s heartening that there is such a clear majority in favour of votes for 16 and 17 year olds. We now urge all parties to listen to our young people and commit to moving to votes at 16 for Welsh elections – both at local and national level.”

The National Assembly for Wales is set to gain new powers over elections in Wales in the forthcoming Wales Bill, including over the franchise, the electoral system and the voting age.

Dr Owain ap Gareth added:

“This report shows unequivocally that there is a clear appetite among 16 and 17 year olds in Wales to have a say in the decisions which affect them. The Welsh Government should ensure these calls do not go ignored – and let Wales lead the way in terms of a fair franchise in the UK.

“Now is the time to introduce a major programme of political education in schools in Wales. The survey shows that young people want to learn more about politics, with 79% thinking it important that young people learn more about politics and the voting system, and 77% thinking schools and colleges are the best place to do so. There is huge untapped enthusiasm and potential among our young people here.

“Of those young people who voted against votes at 16 in the survey, many are likely to be concerned that young people do not know enough about politics and to make an informed choice as citizens. So it’s vital that 16 and 17 year olds have the chance to learn about politics in an impartial way and to discuss the issues which affect them in schools.

“Granting the votes to 16 and 17 year olds was a resounding success during the Scottish independence referendum, and ERS Cymru urge the Welsh government to learn from this success. The incredibly youth engagement in Scotland during the referendum was linked to pupils’ learning in schools and ensuring young people were registered to vote.

“With the proposed changes to the Welsh curriculum following the Donaldson Review [1], we should be looking at how Votes at 16 can be part of an overarching strategy in learning about politics and encouraging strong citizenship, as well as registering young voters in schools and colleges. 

“Done correctly, this could transform politics for a generation of young people in Wales.”

ENDS

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview in Welsh or English, contact:

Dr Owain ap Gareth on owain.apgareth@electoral-reform.org.uk or on 07771 661 802.

Or if unavailable, comment/information in English from Josiah Mortimer, ERS Communications Officer - Josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk – 07717211630

Notes

[1] The Donaldson Review put citizenship front and centre as a main purpose of the curriculum. Donaldson stated that the purposes of the curriculum in Wales should be that pupils and young people develop as:

  • ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

Electoral Reform Society Cymru recently published a report on Young People and Politics, ‘Wales Power Report II: The Power and Voice of Young People in Wales’, with the sections on political education from page 22 here: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/sites/default/files/files/publication/welsh_power_english_0.pdf

For a blog on democracy and the Donaldson review, see here: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/blog/implementing-donaldson-review-wales

Gall Pleidlais yn 16 oed 'drawsnewid gwleidyddiaeth i genedlaeth o bobl ifanc Cymru'

15th July 2015
15 Jul 2015

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  • Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru yn croesawu adroddiad yn dangos cefnogaeth i pleidleisiau yn 16 oed ymhlith pobl ifanc Cymru
  • ERS yn annog Llywodraeth Cymru i ddefnyddio pwerau newydd i roi pleidlais yn 16 ochr yn gyfochr â rhaglen newydd o addysg wleidyddol mewn ysgolion

15/07/2015 - Datganiad gan Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru i’w RYDDHAU AR UNWAITH

Cysylltwch â:

Owain ap Gareth, ERS Cymru Ymgyrchoedd ac Ymchwil Swyddog (owain.apgareth@electoral-reform.org.uk - 07771661802)

Josiah Mortimer, Swyddog Cyfathrebu ERS (Josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk - 07717211630)

Mae Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru heddiw wedi croesawu darganfyddiadau ymgynghoriad chwe mis gan Lywydd y Cynulliad, y Fonesig Rosemary Butler, ar bleidleisio yn 16 a 17 oed gyda phobl ifanc yng Nghymru. Mae’r arolwg yn dangos cefnogaeth gryf ymysg ieuenctid Cymru i gael llais ar bwy sydd yn eu cynrychioli yn y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol.

Gyda dros 10,000 o bobl ifanc yn cymryd rhan yn yr ymgynghoriad, mae’r canlyniadau yn dangos  53% o blaid Pleidlais yn 16 oed; 29% yn erbyn; gyda 18% yn dweud 'ddim yn gwybod'.

Dywedodd Dr Owain ap Gareth, Ymgyrch a Swyddog Ymchwil yn ERS Cymru:

"Dyma'r arolwg fwyaf cynhwysfawr o bobl ifanc yr ydym wedi’i gael yng Nghymru ar hyn, felly mae'n galonogol bod yna fwyafrif cryf  o blaid pleidleisiau ar gyfer pobl ifanc 16 a 17 oed. Rydym yn annog pob plaid i wrando ar ein pobl ifanc ac ymrwymo’n gryf i symud i bleidlais yn 16 oed ar gyfer etholiadau yng Nghymru – yn lleol ac yn genedlaethol"

Mae Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn mynd i ennill pwerau newydd dros etholiadau yng Nghymru yn y Bil Cymru sydd ar ddod, gan gynnwys dros y system etholiadol a'r oedran pleidleisio.

Ychwanegodd Dr Owain ap Gareth:

"Mae'r arolwg yma yn dangos yn glir bod awydd gan pobl ifanc 16 a 17 Cymru i gael llais yn y penderfyniadau sy'n effeithio arnynt. Dylai Llywodraeth Cymru sicrhau nad yw eu galwad yn cael ei anwybyddu - a gadael i Gymru arwain y ffordd o ran llais deg i bobl ifanc yn y DU.

"Nawr yw'r amser i gyflwyno rhaglen gynhwysfawr o addysg wleidyddol mewn ysgolion yng Nghymru. Mae'r arolwg yn dangos bod pobl ifanc yn awyddus i ddysgu mwy am wleidyddiaeth, gyda 79% yn meddwl ei bod yn bwysig bod pobl ifanc yn dysgu mwy am wleidyddiaeth a'r system bleidleisio, a 77% o’r farn mai ysgolion a cholegau yw’r lle gorau i wneud hynny. Mae yna sylfaen o frwdfrydedd a photensial ymhlith ein pobl ifanc yma a mae’n rhaid adeiladu arno.

“O'r bobl ifanc hynny a oedd yn erbyn pleidleisio yn 16 oed yn yr arolwg, mae’n debygol eu bod yn bryderus nad yw pobl ifanc yn gwybod digon am wleidyddiaeth i wneud dewis wybodus. Felly mae'n hanfodol bod 16 a 17 oed yn cael y cyfle i ddysgu am wleidyddiaeth mewn ffordd ddiduedd ac i drafod y materion sy'n effeithio arnynt mewn ysgolion.

"Roedd cyflwyno Pleidlais yn 16 yn lwyddiant ysgubol yn ystod y refferendwm annibyniaeth yr Alban an mae ERS Cymru yn galw ar Lywodraeth Cymru i ennill o’r llwyddiant hynny. Roedd ymateb pobli ifanc yn yr Alban yn ystod y Refferendwm yn gysylltiedig a ddysg am wleidyddiaeth yn mewn ysgolion, yn ogystal a sicrhau bod pobl ifanc yn cael eu cofrestru i bleidleisio mewn ysgolion.

"Gyda'r newidiadau arfaethedig i'r cwricwlwm Cymreig yn dilyn yr Adolygiad Donaldson [1], dylem fod yn edrych ar sut y gall Pleidlais yn 16 oed fod yn rhan o strategaeth ehangach mewn dysgu am wleidyddiaeth ac annog dinasyddiaeth cryf, yn ogystal â chofrestru pleidleiswyr ifanc mewn ysgolion a cholegau.

"Os yw hyn yn cael ei wneud yn iawn, gall drawsnewid gwleidyddiaeth i genhedlaeth o bobl ifanc yng Nghymru."

DIWEDD

Am fwy o wybodaeth, dyfyniadau neu i drefnu cyfweliad yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg, cysylltwch â:

Dr Owain ap Gareth ar owain.apgareth@electoral-reform.org.uk neu ar 07771 661 802.

Neu mae sylwadau / gwybodaeth ar gael yn Saesneg o Josiah Mortimer, Swyddog Cyfathrebu ERS - Josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk - 07717 211 630

Nodiadau

[1] Roedd dinasyddiaeth yn rhan blaenllaw a chanolog o Adolygiad Donaldson fel prif bwrpas i’r cwricwlwm. Dywedodd Donaldson y dylai ddibenion y cwricwlwm yng Nghymru yw bod disgyblion a phobl ifanc yn datblygu fel:

  • Dysgwyr llwyddiannus: ymatebion sy’n cyfeirio at y deilliannau gwybyddol o addysg ac ymagweddau at ddysgu a gwybodaeth.
  • Unigolion hyderus: ymatebion sy’n cyfeirio at agweddau ar effeithiolrwydd personol a hunanhyder.
  • Dinasyddion cyfrifol: ymatebion sy’n ymwneud â’r angen i addysg feithrin ymdeimlad o gyfrifoldeb cymdeithasol.
  • Oedolion cymwys: ymatebion sy’n ymdrin â ‘sgiliau bywyd’.

Mi gyhoeddodd ERS Cymru adroddiad ar bobl ifanc a gwleidyddiaeth, “Pwer yn Nghymru II: Pwer a Llais Phobl Ifanc yng Nghymru” yn ddiweddar:  http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/sites/default/files/files/publication/pwer_yng_nghymru_0.pdf

Gwelwch yma flog ar adroddiad Donaldson ac addysg ar wleidyddiaeth a dinasyddiaeth: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/blog/implementing-donaldson-review-wales