EuropeInternationalNewsPartnership Year 2017-2018Public Sector

Young Scots Do Not Feel Involved in the UK’S Exit from Europe

Young Scot has released the findings of a new survey showing the majority (80 per cent) of people aged 11-25 in Scotland think it’s important for young people to be involved in the process of withdrawing from the European Union but more than two thirds (69 per cent) think young people are not being involved enough in the process to leave.

Over a third (34 per cent) think there is a generation gap and the result was unfair because they were not given the chance to vote or they feel that leaving the European Union will affect young people more than older generations.

Only young people over the age of 18 were able to vote in the EU Referendum but over two thirds (69 per cent) thought it would have a big effect on their lives, 87 per cent said it would have an effect and 9 per cent are not sure.

Some of the issues most important to those surveyed were protection of employment rights (95 per cent), equal treatment of people and protection of freedoms (94 per cent), making it easy for UK students to study in the EU (85 per cent) and security issues such as terrorism (71 per cent).

From the who left a qualitative response, the most common topics were concerns about new border controls limiting opportunities (12 per cent), border controls affecting the ERASMUS education scheme (12 per cent) and the impact on the economy (10 per cent). One in 20 (4 per cent) young people were concerned about a potential rise in racism and isolationism.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “It time for all involved in the preparations to leave the European Union to demonstrate they are listening to Scotland’s young people. It’s clear from our research that young people have strong opinions on the UK’s exit from the EU. They have concerns about their safety, rights and freedoms as well as the loss of opportunities to live, work or study in another country.”

“Young people will be disproportionally affected by the decision to the leave the EU and as we look to withdraw it’s vital that we look to find ways to protect or enhance the ways young people can enjoy the same experiences previous generations have enjoyed.”

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe Michael Russell, said:

“I welcome the engagement that Young Scot have undertaken to meaningfully involve young people in the debate on what should happen following the result of the EU referendum. The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that young people are at the heart of decisions which affect them.

“Brexit poses serious issues for Scotland’s young people given that it envisages a future, without the social, economic and cultural benefits that EU membership brings. That is why the Scottish Government remains committed to Scotland’s future in Europe and to exploring all avenues to protect our existing place in the single market.”

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said:

“It is heartening that young people in Scotland are so engaged in politics and the democratic process.  What is clear is that young people in Scotland want certainty and stability. That is why we are working hard to get the best possible deal for Scotland, and the whole of the UK, as we leave the EU.  Issues such as strengthening our human rights, ensuring our security and protecting opportunities to live, study and travel abroad are absolutely vital, and we will ensure that these are at the heart of our negotiation. Leaving the EU offers huge opportunities, and we are determined to make the most of them.”

To access the full report, please click here.

 Notes to editors

The research was conducted by Young Scot. The total sample size was 944 young people in Scotland aged 11 – 25. The survey was undertaken from 12 December 2016 to 6 February 2017.

Over 944 young people responded to the survey in the last two months.

Where data is available, over half of respondents (51 per cent) were from the lowest two quintiles on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. The results have not been weighted and all figures are rounded to the nearest percentage point.

The survey was carried out online using the Young Scot platform. The participants were self-selecting but online engagement took place to encourage young people from traditionally unrepresented groups to take part.