On Friday 9th March, High Peak MP Ruth George held a ‘Pizza & Politics’ Youth Summit on Brexit and other issues with East Midlands MEP, Rory Palmer.
Pizza was the European dish of choice, as Ruth and Rory were joined by young people from across High Peak. The lively discussion began with what young people wanted from Brexit, and moved onto areas of general concern for young people, particularly education, employment, and transport.
“It was brilliant hearing from young people about what they want from Brexit, and it was refreshing to hear so many positive ideas”, said Ruth.
“Education was a real worry which was raised by many people during the meeting. From how Brexit will affect the Erasmus programme of exchanges with European universities, to spiralling tuition fees and interest payments, this served as a stark reminder of the importance of continuing to fight to provide security and certainty for our young people wanting to study.
“It was sad that at such a young age, people were already noticing how areas of High Peak had become less tolerant in the wake of Brexit. Rising hate crime was a major issue that we discussed, and some young people spoke of their first-hand experience dealing with this.”
Policy issues discussed included single market membership, votes for 16 and 17 year olds, a minimum wage for 14 and 15 year olds and investment in our railways.
“I would like to thank all of the young people who attended – it was great to hear their ideas and enthusiasm for politics.
“Some of the issues they raised are already Labour Party policy, but others, such as a minimum wage for 14 and 15 year olds, are ones that I will raise and take forward”.
Rory said: “It was really interesting to talk to young people in Buxton about their political priorities. From transport to human rights, jobs and the economy, it’s clear that young people in High Peak are passionate about politics and wanting to make the world a better place.
“But there is no escaping from the fact that Brexit is the biggest issue on the table – we can’t afford to ignore the hopes and concerns of young people and the impact it will have on them. The Government must do more to engage with young people, find ways of allowing them to input into the Brexit process and make sure that they do not feel disillusioned by a decision they were given no say in.
“The Government must find a way of giving young people a say in the final Brexit deal. This does not mean a second referendum, but a way of ensuring that young people are engaged and feel part of such a monumental decision for the future of our country.”
The event was held at St Anne’s Community Centre in Buxton.