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Disabled Youngsters go Head-to-Head with Welsh Politicians

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Welsh disabled youngsters took on politicians from Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party in a Question Time-style showdown at the Welsh Assembly this week.

Tackling topics from employment to the future of Wales post-Brexit, the fifty young people, age 14-30, formed the audience for a Question Time-style Q&A session organised by disability charity Leonard Cheshire along with Children in Wales and Whizzkidz.

The Welsh Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan AM, was one of five Welsh Assembly Members facing questions for the debate, which marked UN World Youth Skills Day.

Joshua Reeves, Disability Rights Campaigner and winner of the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award in 2018, chaired the spirited debate, which saw ministers quizzed on current concerns such as employment, access to transport, and Brexit.

Dan, one of the young people taking part from Children In Wales, said, ahead of the debate:

“I’m going to the event so we can raise our concerns, raise our issues on the day, and have a voice and speak out for each other. I’d like to ask the Assembly Members about more jobs and opportunities for young people with disabilities.”

Questions included how rights would be protected post-Brexit, and how education could be more inclusive.

Joshua Reeves said:

“Today’s event has been brilliant. It’s been great debating with the AMs on issues such as Brexit, employment, transport and education. It’s good for young people to be given a chance to air these important questions.”

After the debate, a young drama troupe put on a passionate performance piece calling for politicians to listen to disabled people, before the attendees heard presentations from Jane Hutt AM, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, and Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

The event included a vote on lowering of the voting age to 16. The attendees voted overwhelmingly in favour of doing so.

 

Julie Morgan AM, Welsh Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, said:

“This was a spirited debate on the major issues facing Wales and the next generation of disabled people. It was hugely encouraging to see the youth so politically engaged and passionate.”

The event aimed to boost the youths’ political and debating skills, in keeping with the theme of UN Youth Skills Day. This awareness day focuses on enabling young people around the world to secure more, and better, working opportunities.