UK Youth Parliament urges action on transport costs

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Teenage members of the UK Youth Parliament have made affordable transport their number one priority and have urged ministers to cut the cost of public transport and make it more accessible.

Hundreds of 11-18 year olds voted on Friday (November 4) to make the issue the subject of their national campaign in 2012 following a series of debates in the House of Commons.

Speaker John Bercow, who chaired the event, pledged to draw it to the attention of the transport secretary.

Elected members of the UK Youth Parliament voted to back a motion urging the government to make public transport “cheaper, better and accessible to all” as the focus of their campaigning activities.

They chose the subject ahead of other motions on student finance, bullying in schools, child poverty and the green economy, following their third annual Commons debate. The five topics were chosen in a poll of 65,000 young people.

Abla Seckley, from Aylesbury, said the cost of children travelling to school on the bus often exceeded £1,000 a year and prices increased “exponentially” once you turned 16. “It is compulsory to be in school. If I don’t show up, then I am classed as a truant and if I am a consistent truant because I can’t afford to get there, my parents have to pay fines.”

Natascha Engel, one of a number of MPs to attend the debate, said she would use her position as chair of the Commons backbench business committee to urge ministers to do more to get the issue of transport costs “further up the government agenda”. “You are young people with strong voices and we are listening,” she said. Speaker Bercow said this was a “clear result”, adding he would write to the departments responsible for policy in for each of the five areas debated to respond to the MYPs’ arguments.