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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 07:04 GMT
'Inspire young people to go vote'
Young people
Voting levels among young people are falling in UK elections
What should candidates for the Welsh assembly elections on 3 May offer the young?

That's what we asked some members of the Wales 60, the group put together by the BBC to help reflect the views of voters as polling day approaches.

The group - one for every Assembly Member - has been selected by the BBC to represent a balance of opinions.

You can follow the campaign and hear the opinions of the Wales 60 on the BBC news website, TV and radio throughout.

MIKE HUGHES, 56, BUILDING SERVICES MANAGER, OLD COLWYN

Mike Hughes
Mike Hughes: 'Shared home ownership needs to be encouraged'

I would like to see what the parties can offer young couples on affordable housing as the property market has all but priced out most people on normal incomes.

I would like to see more schemes such as the one recently announced on Anglesey where 60 cottage-style homes are going to be built in Pentraeth.

The views of the local people are going to be considered, with the developers also keen for those waiting to get their foot on the property ladder to have their say.

The properties are going to be let on a shared ownership basis for half their value of around 160,000.

Potential buyers must be from the area so it prevents incomers taking advantage of the scheme to the detriment of locals and applicants will be assessed by an independent panel to ensure the homes are allocated to people who need them.

I think the parties must address the lack of replacement council housing stock where it has been depleted by the right-to-buy legislation. That was good at its inception under Thatcher and allowed the working man to own his property, but now needs either modifying or cancelling as it has resulted in a lack of available properties.

More housing associations using shared ownership schemes need to be encouraged to help newly-wed couples onto the property ladder. I also think that the issue of people migrating from inner-city areas and making themselves homeless and having an automatic right to council housing also needs addressing, as this further depletes the limited available housing at the expense of locals.

CLAIRE LEWIS, 21, STUDENT, ABERYSTWYTH

Claire Lewis
Claire Lewis: "The rise in tuition fees is necessary"

I am very interested in the changing state of secondary education as I will be taking a PGCE (teacher training course) in secondary history next year at Aberystwyth.

There constantly seem to be new policies for education, and I'm worried that it's all becoming a bit gimmicky and not really concerned with the needs and education of children.

I can't wait to see what's in store for the Welsh baccalaureate as I have experienced this vocational course first hand in France and found that pupils there achieved more at a younger age.

As a student, you may think I would be interested in the issue of tuition fees. However, I think the rise in tuition fees up to 3,070 is necessary if the government continues to urge as many young people as possible to go into further education.

I'd like to see all benefits scrapped for "young families" unless they (either Mam or Dad) are gainfully employed
Jason Lewis

In addition, I am now 21 and will probably start looking for my own home after I finish my teacher training. However, the astronomical hikes in house prices means this looks set to be difficult, and something I probably won't achieve on my own without help from my parents.

I know I am not the only young person worried by this as many of my friends and family are having trouble getting on the property ladder. The situation isn't helped by people moving into Wales and buying second homes, especially rural areas.

Local housing policies are in place but I think more action is needed. I was very interested by Plaid's policies to "match fund" young peoples' deposits on their first houses.

JASON LEWIS, 37, BUSINESSMAN / SALES MANAGER, TREDEGAR

Jason Lewis
Jason Lewis: "Too often families spend their lives on benefit"

What would I like to see from the politicians for people with young families? I don't really know where to start - except in verse!

My daughter's teacher works all day/ Teaching the children and watching them play;

She teaches them all, right and wrong/ And sometimes she teaches them Welsh in song;

She can struggle with children both clever and dumb/ There's simply too much curriculum.

The schools and the teachers need to be put in charge of the curriculum - they are the ones that know what the end result needs to be; they are the ones that know which child needs extra help to get there; they are the ones that know where to spend their budget. Let's let them.

Young woman being lifted on a sea of hands
Can assembly elections candidates lift the aspirations of the young?

I'd like to see all benefits scrapped for "young families" unless they (either Mam or Dad) are gainfully employed.

All too often there are families that spend their lives on benefit without even thinking of employment.

Stop paying them our money and give it to those young families who have a bit of self respect and actually want to work.

Working families should be better off; whether in actual salary earned or benefits gained - a young family should not be better off on the dole!

GERAINT LLOYD, 31, SOFTWARE ENGINEER, LLANELLI

Geraint Lloyd
Geraint Lloyd: "Closing a school damages that community"

My wife and I moved back to Carmarthenshire from London so that our children could attend the same village school as their mother and grandmother.

Now we are unsure whether the school in question will even be open to receive them. I feel strongly that the local school is a focus of activity within any small community and closing the school does significant damage to that community.

Furthermore, in these days of pollution and climate change, it would surely be preferable to have schools which are within walking distance for most of their pupils.

I have seen clearly by comparing my father's O-level maths paper from 1973, my GCSE maths paper from 1991, and last year's GCSE maths paper that standards of education have declined drastically over this period.

We should consider the vote as a cherished privilege, but politicians should inspire us to vote for them

Ross Thomas

It is clear that current education policy is failing and we should return to the common sense approach that was so effective in the past.

For example, common sense dictates that children with less ability will take longer to learn things, so mixed ability classes can only learn at the speed of the least able pupil.

I believe strongly that society should meet the specific educational needs of every individual child, but common sense should be applied to help every child reach his or her full potential.

ROSS THOMAS, 19, STUDENT, MAESTEG

Ross Thomas
Ross Thomas: "Politicians must engage with young people"

The big potential winner in this election could be apathy. Turnout figures for Welsh assembly elections fell between 1999 and 2003, and this is no more relevant than in the case of 18-24-year-olds.

But why are so many young people not turning out and using their vote on polling day?

Are we disinterested and not bothered? Or do we just feel disengaged from the political process as a whole?

I would vouch for the latter. I am lucky enough to have strong family roots in party politics, and this has had a positive effect on getting me involved in local politics.

But for those young people with no inspiration, as such, I know it can be difficult to get involved, or even just to feel that our views are being considered.

My hope is that politicians of all colours will make a concerted effort to engage with young people so that they are then able to realise that voting is worthwhile, and that they can change things or have an influence on the decisions that politicians make.

We should consider the vote as a cherished privilege, but politicians should inspire us to vote for them.

ALLYSON WESTBROOK-HOWELL, 45, FULL-TIME MOTHER AND STUDENT, CARDIFF

Allyson Westbrook-Howell
Allyson Westbrook-Howell: "Why do gangs of children wander streets?"
I am concerned with parental responsibility.

Two of my daughters are university graduates, one is in university and one is going in September and whilst they were growing up they had plenty of places to go and things to do in the area in which we live - Pentwyn, Cardiff.

They attended dance classes, youth club, went swimming and went to Guides and Brownies and when not attending activities they did homework, watched TV, used the computer or read books.

All these activities still happen in Pentwyn, as well as computer classes for children at the local community education centre. A skate park has been built at the leisure centre, where there are many activities for children and young people.

There is also a park and an all-weather pitch has been built which is within walking distance.

So why, then, do we have gangs of children of all ages wandering the streets, all hours of the day and night committing acts of vandalism and instilling fear into local residents?


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