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LGBT Youth Scotland's Submission to the Smith Commission

After a process of consultation and engagement with young people, LGBT Youth Scotland submitted response to the Smith Commission’s call for views from civic society on further Scottish devolution.

LGBT Youth Scotland’s suggestions for further devolution are founded on our experience of supporting and working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people, and their opinions gathered through a consultation process carried out in October 2014. From this position we therefore made the following recommendations.

In summary:

1. Equality Law

LGBT Youth Scotland believes that equality law should be devolved, recognising the Scottish Parliament’s record in developing legislation that meets the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people. Within our consultations LGBT young people focused on how they would like to see equalities legislation improve and felt that the functions of the Scottish Parliament provided them with increased opportunities to have their views heard and realise these improvements.

2. Voting Age
Thee Scottish Independence Referendum has created a precedent in Scotland, showing that young people aged 16 and 17 are both capable of and interested in voting. While we recognise and support this cause within a UK context, it is clear that there is cross party support in Scotland and a Scottish evidence base on which to plan successful implementation. It would therefore be a natural progression of the Scotland Act 1998 to include the power to reduce the voting age to 16 within Scottish elections.

3. Welfare and Employment

Within our consultations LGBT young people were interested in issues related to further devolution across the board with the minimum wage and access to benefits raised as areas of concern. It is clear that LGBT young people continue to be further disadvantaged through poverty and low incomes and we recommend further devolution of welfare and the necessary fiscal powers to improve the lives of young people.

In addition, within our consultation, LGBT young people recognised that there were times in which their rights were not realised or afforded. When considering the need for further devolution in these areas, we therefore recommend using a rights based framework that examines the impact on LGBT young people.

LGBT Youth Scotland previously joined an alliance of Scottish youth chairities calling on Lord Smith to recommend a mechanism for the franchise for all future elections in Scotland to be extended to 16 and 17 year olds. Read news article here. 

LGBT Youth Scotland was one of 12 organisations to submit a joint letter to Lord Smith calling for devolution of equality law. Read article from Scottish Refugee Council Here. 

LGBT Youth Scotland will continue to engage with the Smith Commision process as relevant and necessary to ensure the voices of LGBT Young People are heard and included.