Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, is pleased the House of Lords has voted in favour of allowing 16-17 year olds a vote in the EU referendum.
Whist the government have yet to decide how it will react to the Lords decision, allowing 16 – 17 years olds to vote in the EU referendum could see 1.5 million added to the electoral register.
Mr Wilson has said “Young people are the future of this country and deserve a say in a decision which will shape Britain for future generations.”
“Current government policies comes down particularly hard on those below the age of 24. They won’t see their minimum wage rise, and their access to welfare has been restricted. The least this government can do is ensure they have a voice.”
A survey of businesses conducted by Mr Wilson in his constituency discovered thousands of jobs could be at risk should the UK withdraw from the EU.
According to Mr Wilson “The survey revealed many employers think leaving the EU will affect their business. Of the 4000 jobs respondents collectively provide in my constituency, over 2500 of could be affected should the UK opt to withdraw from the EU, with many businesses concerned that their overall future in the North East.”
This potential loss of jobs has not escaped the attention of Tom Dower, the Principal of UTC South Durham, a technical school set to open in Newton Aycliffe next autumn. Mr Dower expressed concern that leaving the EU could impact the local and regional job market his graduates would go in to. “Young people need to understand the implications of either staying in or leaving the EU and giving them a vote is the best way of engaging them in the debate. They will be most affected and it is important that they have a say in the decision.”
Phil echoed this sentiment “We cannot deny young people a voice on a decision that will affect them and their future. Young people already have had the ‘worst economic prospects for generations’. Leaving the EU could make the prospects for young people even worse.”
“If the local job market stops growing and expanding, jobs will undoubtedly effected. And judging by the current prospects young people face, I am not sure we can afford to lose these jobs.”
Mr Wilson therefore asks the government “to listen to the House of Lords decision and not to deny over a million young people a voice on their future.”