What do the political parties have to offer teenage voters?

  • ITV Cymru Wales video report

The Senedd election is less than three weeks away and this year, for the first time, 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to vote.

To mark this, on Wednesday 21 April ITV Wales is dedicating its coverage to young people, and a special programme will be aired on television and live-streamed across ITV Wales Twitter and Facebook pages at 6pm.

First-time voter Tia Camilleri will be presenting parts of 'Wales at Six'. Her questions have also been put to the three main party leaders on issues concerning young people.

Tia Camilleri

The sixteen-year-old from Cardiff is currently studying Politics, Psychology and Chemistry at St David's College.

She said: "Politics and current affairs are real passions of mine so 16 and 17-year-olds being given the chance to vote is super important to me.

"Young people are the future and we have different interests and needs from the government. This is why I teamed up with ITV Wales to talk to the leaders of the political parties representing young people and getting our voices heard."

Tia was keen to know what the parties had to offer to help young people like herself.

Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservative party said: "What's really important is that we get a clear roadmap out of lockdown so that we can secure futures bright enough for young people, with employment and good education prospects.

Andrew RT Davies

"We'd turbo charge the green revolution so that we can pioneer some green energy and green solutions. We will make sure we invest in mental health services in schools and colleges so we revolutionise the mental health provisions for youngsters."

The current First Minister and leader of the Welsh Labour party, Mark Drakeford said: "A real emphasis on a guarantee for young people that in Wales there will be no wasted generation. There will be jobs, education and training.

Mark Drakeford

"Then we'll have things on mental health and then there will be investment in things that young people enjoy in sports, in the arts and making sure that young people in Wales will be able to work and study abroad in the future, as they have been able to do in the past."

Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price said that investing in young people was "at the heart" of their manifesto.

"We're going to be offering a guaranteed job to all 16 to 24-year-olds", he said.

"We're going to be guaranteeing free transport to young people on buses and we're going to be starting the process of making university education free again through a substantial reduction in tuition fees."

Adam Price

Tia also asked each party leader a specific question based on issues that were important to her.

After reading in their manifesto that they would build 100,000 new houses, she asked the Welsh Conservative leader how his party would help them be affordable for young people who want to get on the property ladder.

Andrew RT Davies said: "We'd make sure that at least 40,000 of those 100,000 homes are secured for low-income families or social housing in particular because we know we haven't been building enough houses.

"If we're not building enough houses, that's going to exclude young people from the housing market."

Tia Camilleri

The 16-year-old also wanted to question Plaid Cymru about their position on making the teaching of black history compulsory in schools.

Their leader said: "The first thing that we will do in government is ensure that there is a legal requirement to ensure that Welsh history, including black history is taught as a mandatory part of the curriculum."

Her question to Mark Drakeford was about the Welsh Labour party's record. After being in power for over 20 years, Tia wanted to know what the've done for young people in that time.

Mark Drakeford said: "Welsh Labour's record of doing things for young people includes the reform of the curriculum in schools - a major achievement of the last Senedd term.

"We've already invested in improving mental health services for young people over the last five years and made sure that young people are able to vote in this election."

You can watch the special programme on Wednesday April 21st at 6pm on ITV Cymru Wales.

The coverage will also tackle issues that matter to young voters and invite guest editors to contribute towards output.

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