Brexit and The Rights of Young People
5. We will listen to and take account of the voices of young people on key rights issues that they feel should be protected during Brexit.
This will include organising a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations and MSYPs to discuss their Brexit manifesto.
The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations met with MSYPs in May 2018. He welcomed their Brexit manifesto and agreed that young people’s voices must be heard on the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Cabinet Secretary committed to doing everything possible to allow children and young people to have their views on Brexit considered. This has included setting up formal and informal ways for children and young people’s views to be heard as well as meeting them directly.
a) Workplace rights
The Programme for Government 2017-18 contained a commitment to publish a series of papers over the course of the coming months on a range of issues, including employment powers. We have prepared a draft paper, which focuses on Labour Market Strategy delivery, Fair Work agenda and EU Exit impacts. It was due to be published in the summer but Ministers have now asked us to wait until things are clearer on the exit from EU.
We will promote the voices of young people during the Brexit negotiations with the UK Government, when we have the opportunity to do so.
We have funded Children in Scotland to run a Children and Young People’s Panel on Europe to advise the Scottish Government. This Panel gives children and young people (aged 8-18) the chance to talk about the main issues for them on leaving the EU and our future relationship with Europe. The Panel met with the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe in September 2018 and have also met with the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations to inform him of their views. The Panel wrote to all MSPs and MPs in December 2018 and the Scottish Government will receive a final report from the Panel.
We have also funded MyLifeMySay to host Brexit cafes for young people in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Their views have contributed to The Better Brexit for Young People Report.
c) Equalities and rights protection
Equalities laws are mostly reserved and can only be changed by the UK Government. There is limited opportunity for the Scottish Government to make any changes.
d) Right to remain
The Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development met with MSYPs and young EU nationals in November 2018 to discuss EU citizens’ rights and migration policy in Scotland. He repeated our commitment to set up an advisory service to provide information and support for EU citizens, which he asked for youth organisations to help publicise once it was set up.
They also discussed the loss of Free Movement, including the right for young people to study in Europe. The UK Government’s Settlement Scheme for EU citizens was not well known or understood by many of the young people present.
e) Right to health
The Scottish Youth Parliament’s Brexit manifesto asked for the UK EU Withdrawal Bill to include a provision for there to be an independent evaluation of the health impacts of Brexit. This was not accepted by the UK Parliament, but in the debates in the Scottish Parliament on the alternative Scottish Continuity Bill – which is not currently in force – just such a provision was accepted.
We also carefully examined all the evidence put forward to the Brexit inquiry carried out by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, including organisations representing the views of young people such as WhoCares?Scotland.