Exclusive: Greens propose new powers for London’s teenage assembly

"Young people have shown more political leadership than most politicians in recent years, they deserve a real say in their future."

Sian Berry

The Green Party’s Mayoral candidate wants teenagers on the London Youth Assembly to be given new powers to hold the Mayor to account.

In plans exclusively seen by Left Foot Forward, Sian Berry promises to give the elected 11-19 year olds the power to propose a formal amendment to London’s annual budget.

She pledges to give them more resources to investigate issues and write reports and the power to question the Mayor at several annual Youth Assembly Question Time events and submit official written questions all year round.

“Young people have shown more political leadership than most politicians in recent years, they deserve a real say in their future,” Berry said.

She added: “From the school children demanding action on climate, to students calling for change on campuses – young people are already transforming politics for the better and those of us with power have a duty to share that with them.”

Kirsty McMillan, chair of the under-18 Greens said: “Under 18s especially are so tired of being ignored while our presents and futures are decided by officials we weren’t allowed to elect. Giving the Youth Assembly more power really will put young Londoners’ issues on the map.”

McMillan said if she were given these powers she would challenge the Mayor over his support for the Silvertown road tunnel and ask why the Metropolitan Police disproportionately use stop and search powers on black people.

Berry said she would grant more resources and staff to the Assembly and pay its members the London Living Wage for the time they spend working. This is so no young people feel they can’t participate because they need paid to do part-time work on top of their studies.

The Youth Assembly was set up in 2018. It is currently chaired by a Year 9 student and its 11-19 year old members are elected from their local boroughs. Berry would add six more members who are nominated by colleges and universities and can be up to 21 years old.

A poll conducted on 6-8 March found Berry was in fourth place in the Mayoral race. Labour’s Sadiq Khan was a clear favourite on 51%, the Tories’ Shaun Bailey was on 25% and the Liberal Democrat Luisa Porritt was on 8%.

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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